If youâ€™ve watched the Islanders of late, there have been a number of things that have contributed to their strong play. Theyâ€™re getting big performances from up and down the lineup, including third-line center J.G. Pageau.
Last nightâ€™s sound 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres made it seven straight games with a point for Barry Trotzâ€™s crew. And it was Pageau, whom the Isles saw first hand in the bubble postseason just how effective he can be when his game is on, who extended his goal-scoring streak to three games. His snipejob over Sabresâ€™ netminder Linus Ullmark off the rush showed his confidence looks restored after a soft start to the season.
â€œI think heâ€™s playing with a little bit of edge to him, Trotz said in the post game. â€œHe has that edge backâ€¦ He has that game rolling. Heâ€™s a very important player for any coach in this league, Iâ€™m just telling youâ€¦ You can slot him anywhereâ€¦ he finds a way to get it done for you so heâ€™s very important with our bench.â€
PAGEAU PAGEAU PAGEAU! ?
Make it 3?? straight games with a goal for JG. #Isles
— NBC Sports Hockey (@NBCSportsHockey) February 16, 2021
The last three games Pageau is proving Trotzâ€™s theory right. His four points over this recent stretch â€” all at crucial junctures of each game â€” leave him with eight points in 14 games and have catapulted him up to third on the team in goals and overall points. Those numbers come down to Pageau showing consistency, which was one of the major things expected of the 28-year-old coming into his first full season with the Isles.
That was his MO when the Islanders dealt for him at last yearâ€™s trade deadline from Ottawa.
It wasnâ€™t there early on the first month of this shortened campaign â€” some of that due to the revolving door of wingers on Pageauâ€™s line â€” but heâ€™s found it, even if itâ€™sÂ taken a little bit longer this year than some may like. The fact too his production has come when the Islanders are starting to really find their game is both a boost and can be scary for the opposition.
â€œPager is a guy you win with,â€ Trotz also acknowledged. â€œHe gets it done when it matters most.â€
With how the Islanders are playing, seeing Pageau continue to thrive will really put things in full gear as the season goes on.
His recent play indicates that. And itâ€™s leading to what means most…winning.
Weâ€™re at a point now where it seems Mathew Barzal basically embarrasses at least one player on the opposition each game now.
His victim last night was Sabres d-man Matt Irwin.
I’ve lost track of how many ankles Mathew Barzal has broken this year pic.twitter.com/A2NclZFgNp
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) February 16, 2021
Irwinâ€™s busted ankles along with another point for #13 â€” extending his point streak to nine games â€” was all in a nightâ€™s work.
Weâ€™re used to seeing the Isles put on defensive clinics under Barry Trotzâ€™s watch. But what they did last night was astonishing.
The Islanders allowed Buffalo zero (YES ZERO) shots in the third period last night.
Per Eric Hornick, It marked the first time in franchise history they accomplished such a feat.