The Islanders have two more preseason tune-ups to play before their regular season opener next Friday, Oct. 10 against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Islanders took on the New Jersey Devils on Friday, Sept. 26 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, their new home beginning the 2015-16 season. 2013 first round pick Ryan Pulock lit the lamp for the first time in the Isles history in Brooklyn. Colin McDonald scored a goal as well. It will be interesting to see where McDonald fits as a piece of this year’s puzzle.
Brock Nelson scored the shootout winner for the Isles to seal the 3-2 win. Offseason acquisition goaltender Chad Johnson played his first full game for his new team and made 26 saves. Speaking of Isles goaltenders, it is clear to see that we now have plenty of depth to go around. Besides starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak and Johnson as the backup, do not forget Kevin Poulin. Poulin has proven to be a dominant force in goal when called upon as well. Poulin played in the second game of the doubleheader against the Ottawa Senators last week.
And on Tuesday, Sept. 30 the Isles defeated the Boston Bruins 5-3 at TD Garden. Cory Conacher scored a goal in the second period. Conacher is definitely making a name for himself this preseason. Despite his 5 foot 8 stature, he was willing to stand up for his teammates multiple times throughout the night. Coaches certainly approve of that hustle displayed.
Nelson is putting up numbers with the other young guns even in the preseason. He scored a power-play goal and tallied an assist in the preseason opener against the Senators. Nelson could be a crucial piece to the Isles power-play. If the top three on the first power-play line is John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Nelson, they could easily have one of the best power-play lines in the league. Ryan Strome and Anders Lee assisted on the goal. Islanders fans are going to be hearing the names of these three on the scoresheet for a long, long time.
Newcomer Mikhail Grabovski earned the first-star honors in the second split-squad win against the Senators with a goal and an assist. It has been interesting to see Josh Bailey, who scored a goal during that game, get on the board as well. He needs to have a dominant season to redeem himself from seasons past.
Another positive thing to see was a goal on the penalty kill by Casey Cizikas during the game against the Hurricanes on Wednesday, Sept. 24. He is a smart penalty killer and could only improve.
Strome had also put home a goal in that game as well, assisted by young defenseman Griffin Reinhart.
If everyone can contribute, which has been proved at this point in the preseason, the Isles will be a dominant force in the Eastern Conference. Consistency is the key as well.
The Isles now have a 4-1 record in the preseason. They next take on the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on Thursday, Oct. 2. The following night, they take on the Boston Bruins at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut to close out their preseason schedule.