Amid the New York Islanders getting run out of the building last night in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Final, not all was lost.
Jordan Eberle, who couldn’t buy a goal during the team’s second round victory over the Flyers, finally struck pay dirt.
Eberle’s first period tally was one of two Islander goals in the 8-2 thumping. The goal was also his first in 11 games.
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) September 8, 2020
Even in such an awful loss, Eberle getting the proverbial “monkey off his back” might end up being a pivotal moment for he and the team as they not only try to even the series tomorrow night but continue their run to the Cup Final.
As mentioned, he had been snakebitten or just couldn’t convert anything after his fluke goal beat Braden Holtby in game one of the first round while the rest of the offense was a bit more lucky. Now that he’s off the schnide means Eberle can grip his stick a little less tight and get back to playing more loose.
The pressure might have finally ceded for Eberle too. Just watch him after he got that goal, and you can tell he looked relieved. It was as a big moment for him.
From a team perspective, maybe Ebs’ goal reassures them that the winger’s confidence might be restored. There’s no doubt they could definitely use it, especially after the confidence they saw the opposition’s forwards boasted from the get-go last night.
Tampa’s top guys came flying out of the gates and flexed their muscles early and often. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point both ended the night with five points. Granted those numbers seem bloated because most of them came after the game was out of reach, but that still proves the Isles are going to need their forwards to have to match what those guys showed they are capable of.
That’s one of the ways the Islanders can win the series. In particular, getting that extra production from Eberle. The Isles rely on him for goals, and when he comes through like he did last night, they are a way better team and tougher to play against.
Eberle has been good for the Isles throughout this postseason. He’s got 13 points in 17 games, and he’s now got a four-game point streak and points in six of his last eight games. But the goals weren’t there.
He finally got one last night after a long drought.
On a night where nothing went good for the Islanders, this was a positive.
And who knows, it could loom large as the series moves forward.