With the Islanders a few games into the season it has been a mixed-bag of results. Not a surprise given that the team changed GM and Coach, lost their marquee player to free agency and placed the franchise on the shoulders of a sophomore player in Mat Barzal.
This home and home series against the Pens was on my list for seasonal bench marks for this new Islanders team. How would a Trotz led (he really has the Pens number at the moment) team play against a great Metro team?
What a fantastic result, but more on that in a moment. Having been an Islanders fan since before the four cups has been a slog for decades. Hal, Ked, and the rest of the Rangers fans I know that you know what I mean. The ups and mostly downs of having talent leaden teams that underperform and give away leads and shoddy goaltending has been the norm.
Gritty, No Not That One, Islanders Kicking It Old-School
Briefly there are are a number of things to like about this iteration of the Islanders. Having Matt Martin back to patrol the blue line. Not to mention his 3 goals this early in the season is great. Newly Sober Robin Lehner and a Thomas Greiss that finally seems to be playing up to his potential is enough to make this Islanders fan and many others pretty happy. Yeah we freaking know that the season has just begun, but there seems to be more fight, pride and team identity with the Islanders this year.
A couple of examples:
Late in the game Greiss goes old-school and poke checks the puck off of arguably the greatest player in the game, denying Sid the Kid the goal and preserving the the game in the process. Here for you in SLO-MO no less.
Didn’t realize I had this video until this morning but it’s one of the coolest I’ve ever taken. SLOW-MO look from the glass of the Thomas Greiss poke-check on Sidney Crosby in Overtime last night pic.twitter.com/cRuCfep4MG
— YP🦈 (@YoungPageviews) November 2, 2018
and in still photo Upper Deck ready form:
— Larry Berman (@PaigesFall) November 2, 2018
Lehner has been out, Barzal has been inconsistent at times, like the slip in OT that led to the Crosby breakout but this team has something that is hasn’t had for years.
If there is nothing else that has that Trotz and Lams have brought to the Island it would be the desire for the team to roll up their sleeves at every point of every game and get the job at hand done.