Tuesday night, the NY Islanders defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 6-1 at Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.
In a game where the Coyotes out shot, out hit and blocked more shots than the Islanders, stellar goaltending by Evgeni Nabokov, great playmaking and penalties were the deciding factors for the Islanders success on the night.
Evgeni Nabokov saved a total of 33 of the 34 shots he faced (.971 SV%), only failing to block Martin Hanzal’s slap shot in the 2nd period. The Islanders played a smart game but were still caught for 3 penalties on the night. Luckily for the Islanders, Nabokov was consistently the best Penalty Killer throughout the game, and the Coyotes failed to convert on any of their 3 PP opportunities. The consistency in net that Nabokov provided the Islanders gave them the chance to dominate once the lead was in hand.
Both Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen had 3 assists on the night. The combined playmaking skills of Grabner and Nielsen set up 1 of the 2 PPG, as well as 4 of the 6 total goals for the Islanders.
After the initial goal scored by Peter Regin, his first of the year, and first in an Islanders sweater. The Islanders were afforded 6 Power Plays throughout the night, and converted on 2 of the 6. Nielsen got his first point of his big night on PP1 during the 1st period, when he fed John Tavares across ice, Tavares caught Phoenix Goaltender Mike Smith out of position and converted on a snap shot for the first PPG of the night.
Later on in the 2nd period PP2 had it’s first chance on the ice, Rookie Defenseman Matt Donovan deeked Phoenix’s Kyle Chipchura thinking he would pass, but instead used the space he created to blast a snapshot from the point that Coyotes Goaltender Mike Smith couldn’t hold onto, and the puck ultimately crept over the goal line. The goal was Matt Donovan’s first as a NY Islander.
With the lead in hand the final 3 goals for the Islanders came at even strength, Tavares notched his 2nd goal of the night, while Colin McDonald and Josh Bailey tallied their first goals of the season.
NY heads off on a road trip to Chicago to play the Blackhawks on Friday, before heading to Nashville on Saturday. Phoenix continues on their road trip, they will face Detroit on Thursday and Philadelphia on Friday.
The NY Islanders move to 2-0-1, and the Phoenix Coyotes move to 1-2-0.
Three Stars of the Game
1) Josh Bailey
2) Frans Nielsen
3) Evgeni Nabokov