The New York Islanders hosted the visiting Dallas Stars tonight at Nassau Coliseum, hoping to take advantage of a team that played on the road last night. They may not be able to say that they did just that, but Frans Nielsen's hat trick helped propel the Islanders to a 7-5 win on home ice.
The first period started with a quick tempo pace from both teams, as they both got plenty of chances early in the game. Chad Johnson was forced to make a sprawling save on a breakaway, and Anders Lindback had plenty of traffic in front for the first twenty.
The traffic in his crease would eventually lead to the first goal by the Isles. Brock Nelson fed the puck to Calvin de Haan at the far side of the Stars’ blue line before letting go of a wrist-shot that was redirected behind Lindback by Anders Lee for his first goal of the year.
The Penguins beat the Islanders 3-1 behind strong special teams play. Patric Hornqvist had 2 goals including an empty netter, and added an assist. Penguins star Evgeni Malkin had the other Pittsburgh goal and also had a helper on Hornqvist’s first of the game.
The Islanders, who lost for the first time all season, started the game strong. New York jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal by Thomas Hickey in the first.
The New York Islanders (4-0-0) will look to continue their winning ways tonight when they visit another Metropolitan Division rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1-0) at the Consol Energy Center.
The Penguins are going to look to come out strong from the gate after a heartbreaking loss to the Dallas Stars 3-2 on Thursday night. The Pens were headed to overtime with the Stars, but Tyler Seguin would score a power play goal with only 3 seconds remaining on the clock while Sidney Crosby sat in the penalty box.
A tough loss to swallow will likely have Crosby and Co. fired up and ready to go on home ice from the second the puck is dropped.
Today marks the first day of September, meaning that New York Islanders training camp will be opening up in the next few weeks. This time of year gives the coaching staff an opportunity to observe the types of players they have developing in their system, test out line combinations, and see which prospects are prepared to take on full-time roles in the NHL.
Presently, the Isles have 16 forwards and seven defenseman on one-way contracts, including two legitimate NHL goaltenders who do not have to worry about fighting for their job.
That leaves the Isles with 25 players on their roster.
The 16 forwards is the number that got every hockey expert on the twitter-sphere proclaiming that Garth Snow was absolutely going to trade someone in order to bolster his blue line.
As of now, the New York Islanders do not have a forward that is undeniably the top line winger to play alongside of Kyle Okposo and John Tavares. Last year, the Islanders started the season with Matt Moulson on JT’s wing, who was soon exchanged for Thomas Vanek.
Both Moulson and Vanek fit perfectly on the top line. But with Moulson staying in Buffalo and Vanek currently preparing to wear a Minnesota Wild jersey in 2015, the top spot is once again vacated.