New York Islanders: Second Line Finding Its Way Takes Pressure off of First Line

Michael DeSantisSenior Analyst IApril 6, 2012

Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, and Josh Bailey (left to right) celebrate a goal
Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, and Josh Bailey (left to right) celebrate a goalBruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Islanders and their fans were wondering for a long time when the team would finally get a second line capable of taking some of the heat off the top line.

During some small stretches in the season, John Tavares, Matt Moulson and PA Parenteau struggled a bit to score because the other teams always put all the pressure on that line.

The Isles finally found the antidote to relieve some of the pressure on the successful top line.

Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey and Frans Nielsen have been a very solid trio since they were written onto the same line by Jack Capuano.

Okposo has been on fire lately, working up to a career-high 23 goals this season. He has 21 assists to go along with those goals. It was Okposo's first time reaching the 20 goal mark.

Like Okposo, Bailey has been on fire since being set up with Nielsen and Okposo. He had a five-point game against the Penguins a few games ago.

Bailey, who had a rough start to the season, now has 13 goals, and he'll be looking to improve on that number more next season. He has a good chance to do that if he plays with the same guys.

Nielsen has performed well no matter who he has played with, and has played his role as a two-way forward exceptionally well. Nielsen set new career-highs in goals and points with 17 and 46, respectively. But its no secret he's played a big part in the turnarounds of Okposo and Bailey.

The Islanders will be a much better team next season if these three continue to produce and help spread out the Isles' attack.

The top line can't be expected to score all the goals, and the Isles have finally found a second line that can lift its weight.