The New York Islanders as a franchise have been synonymous with memorable playoff moments.
Individually, and as a team, the moments are endless. What we’ve seen from them in these playoffs — and however it all plays out — will be added to the records books.
But tonight, on the cusp of their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 27 years, there’s one player who can endure himself into the annals of franchise lore with a monster performance.
That player is Jordan Eberle.
Eberle, who was brought here in the Ryan Strome trade three years ago, has had an ok performance in the postseason so far. In 14 games, he has totaled nine points — three goals and six assists.
While those numbers are not bad, they should be way better. This round, Eberle has yet to find the back of net despite 15 shots on goal. He does though have four assists in the series. In reality, that’s a bit of a disappointment considering the Isles are more dependent on him for goal scoring.
Eberle hasn’t scored a goal since his floater beat Washington Capitals‘ goalie Braden Holtby in the opening game of the previous round. That was four weeks ago already. And it’s not to say the Islanders haven’t been thriving in that department; since Eberle’s last tally, they’ve scored 32 goals with many of them coming from up and down the lineup.
Still, Eberle showing off that scoring ability only deepens how good the Islanders are. It was evident last spring when he was a machine in the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored in all four games and recorded two assists in the Isles’ sweep.
Penguins turn it over, forget to cover Jordan Eberle in front of the net. This one counts! pic.twitter.com/gw6KetTFJo
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 10, 2019
Now some will say that was Eberle’s defining moment in blue and orange. That would be the case, if, he had continued it the following round against the Hurricanes. Eberle ended up going scoreless in that series and the Islanders were swept in four.
So in regards to this evening, this needs to be Eberle’s moment to shine.
These are the type of games why he was dealt for by former g.m. Garth Snow. Tonight is the kind of situation he never got a chance to show what he’s truly made of when he was in Edmonton. And this game tonight is a sole reason current general manger Lou Lamoriello shelled out $27.5 million to him last summer.
The Islanders are so close to getting to where very few teams get to — the final four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They can climb that hurdle tonight with a win and Jordan Eberle being the one who steals the show.
Tonight he has the chance to put himself among the likes of the Bryan Trottiers, Mike Bossys, and Bobby Nystroms.
This is Eberle’s moment to define himself as an Islander.