No one expected Mathew Barzal to come onto the ice as hard as he did against the Washington Capitals Thursday night. With the Capitals taking the early lead many thought that the Islanders were going to get a slow start. However once Jordan Eberle got the first goal it was full speed ahead for the Islanders.
It was one goal, two goals, three goals for Barzal as he recorded two in the first and a final one in the third to close out the game at an impressive 8-4. Not to mention he gained two more points for his assists on both of Eberle’s goals. As five points in a single game isn’t impressive enough for any player, he had scored each goal in such unique ways that demonstrate how powerful of a forward he really is for the New York Islanders.
Well known for his quick speed, he grabbed the puck from behind the Islanders’ net and drove out of the defensive zone. He then skated around basically the whole Capitals line including strong players Tom Wilson and Zendo Chara as he made his way through Capitals terrority. As he approached the net, he converted the puck from his back hand to his forehead and stretched out his body as he lifted the puck top shelf. The puck collided with the corner of the cross bar and rebounded deep within the net making the game 3-1 in the first. Then when you think he can not possibly top that, he scored another goal just about three minutes later as he spun around and threw the puck at the net.
Washington Goaltender Ilya Samsonov was along the post as Barzal came down the wing to accept the pass from Eberle. Awaiting the play, Nicklas Backtrom skated up to put pressure on Barzal, however he did not anticipate Barzal spinning around him and shooting the puck just wide of Samsonov’s reach and into the far corner of the net. Samsonov had no way to recover when Barzal spun around as he was out of the crease trying to defend where he thought the shot would go. This gave Barzal room for his second of the night which put the Islanders up 4-2.
To mark this game a hat trick for himself, Barzal’s third goal was one seen out of a baseball game. And yes, I said baseball. That is because he actually swung his stick in the air and knocked the puck into the net similar to a swing from the New York Yankees themselves (maybe a bit of a stretch, but he swung his stick nonetheless). With just about 1:06 left in the game, the puck went right over Samsonov’s shoulder to which it appeared that he wasn’t expecting the shot at all as he didn’t move for it. To be fair it was such an unusual shot that it is rarely seen in the NHL which adds to the fact that Mathew Barzal is just an insane goal scorer. With such a fast paced game, a shot out of mid air has to be timed just right to even be knocked towards the net, let alone aligned just right that it goes past the goaltender and in.
Some feel that Barzal has been a little slow this season with his goal scoring as he’s played in 37 games with only ten goals heading into last night’s matchup. He quickly disproved the attacks on his abilities and came out with a fire beneath him to earn him his third career hat trick. This proves once again that given the room and chance, Mathew Barzal is a dangerous player on the ice against any team.