This is what an NHL power play looks like at its very best
The Islanders are off to a nice start in 2013, and they just dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night. It was highlighted by this impressive power play.
I don't know how many games the New York Islanders are going to end up winning this season, but they're off to a nice start in 2013.
They have points in four of their first six games, are one of the highest scoring teams in the league through two weeks and are coming off an impressive 4-1 road dismantling of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night -- a game that their coach, Jack Capuano, admitted few people probably gave his team a chance to win.
The concerns with the Islanders have to begin with their defense, which was largely pieced together through waiver-wire pickups before the season started (Thomas Hickey, Brian Strait) and the fact their offense is riding a 5-on-5 shooting percentage north of 11 percent, a number that only five teams have reached over a full season since 2007.
So that's going to come down.
But I'm not here to rain on the parade too much, because they are an improved team, and they're actually a lot of fun to watch. For one, they're one of the fastest teams that I've seen in the league this season, particularly on their top-two lines, and they used it to their advantage on Tuesday. It helped lead to turnovers that resulted in their first two goals.
Then, with the team already up 2-0 and the Penguins finally starting to wrest some momentum away, it led to a hooking penalty on James Neal that set up the first Islanders power play. And what a power play it was. It lasted all of 40 seconds and featured some of the finest puck movement that you will see.
Let's watch as the puck rockets around the ice from Mark Streit to Brad Boyes to John Tavares to Frans Nielsen to Matt Moulson and then back to Tavares for the finish. Every pass was made with a purpose and without hesitation. It was smooth and fast, and the Penguins never had a chance.
"It was great movement," Tavares said. "We were feeling the pressure they were putting on us and recognizing the open guy, and I was lucky enough to do the easy part."
The Penguins were lucky when Tavares missed the net on his first open look from just inside the circle. But if you give a guy like that another crack at it from the exact same spot, he's probably going to bury it. And Tavares did.
It was a stark contrast to the power play that belonged to the other team on the ice. The Penguins took just three shots on nine minutes of power-play time and struggled to even gain entry into the zone.
But the Islanders group? My goodness, that was impressive.
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