Friday night, NY Islanders fans who packed Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum for their very first taste of preseason hockey at the Coliseum were rewarded with a 6-4 victory over the visiting Nashville Predators. After two straight games where the Islanders offense failed to score a single point, the team seemed to find their rhythm on Friday night. John Tavares, the first star of the game started the offensive explosion, he scored twice in the first period, before Lubomir Visnovsky, Colin McDonald, Matt Donovan and Josh Bailey joined in on lighting the lamp against Nashville Predators Goalies Pekka Rinne (1st and second periods) and Carter Hutton(3rd period). This offensive performance was only made possible by great play making, as both Matt Moulson and Travis Hamonic had 3 assists each and rookie prospect Brock Nelson had two.
One of the biggest questions for the Islanders heading into the preseason has been whether the rookies would be able to perform with the big club. Friday night, both Donovan and Nelson had impressive games (Donovan 1 Goal 3 SOG, Nelson 2 Assists & 3 SOG). If both players can continue being consistent contributors to the lineup through the rest of the preseason, they should be able to secure their roster spots in the lineup for the regular season. Donovan is currently the front runner replacement for Mark Streit’s former roster hole, and with Cal Clutterbuck being placed on injured reserve Saturday after suffering a skate laceration, Nelson may have shown he’s ready to step up to fill his void. With only two games remaining for the Islanders preseason (Sunday, the NY Islanders face the Ottawa Senators in two split squad games), time is running out for roster changes. The Islanders regular season begins on the road Friday against the NJ Devils in Newark NJ at the Prudential Center, and Saturday will be their home opener at NVMC in Uniondale, NY.
Three Stars of the Game
1) John Tavares
2) Travis Hamonic
3) Brock Nelson