The Isles top line consists of John Tavares, Matt Moulson, and PA Parenteau. So far, four games into the season, the three have combined for 19 points. That's including the game they got shutout by the Florida Panthers. The three have also totaled a plus 14 rating. The three of them have scored eight of the Isles' 11 goals.
So three games of production has totaled 19 points between the three. Let's break the three players down.
John Tavares is showing why the Isles drafted him first overall in 2009, and why they signed him to a multi-year extension. So far, Tavares has five goals and three assists, including a hat trick last night against the New York Rangers. He's becoming more like that superstar the Isles and their fans envisioned him to be each day.
Matt Moulson has proven that he is for real. Last season, he completed back to back 30 goal seasons. And he's not off to a shabby start this year. He has two goals and assists each, displaying that great chemistry with his buddy, Tavares.
PA Parenteau is actually leading the league in assists so far. Parenteau is virtually unheard of, but he fits in great with Moulson and Tavares. So far, Parenteau has a goal and six assists, completing the fantastic chemistry on the Isles top line.
The three players have a great connection with each other, and want to see each other succeed. Chemistry can go a long way in separating the good lines from the great lines.
However, I can't say too many positive things about the other three lines. The other three lines have scored a combined two goals. Well, not exactly.
The second line scored the other two goals, and the last goal belongs to defenseman Andrew MacDonald.
Grabner and Nielsen have the only Isles goals that aren't from the top line.
That's not a good thing. The Islanders top line has gotten them two of their three wins, leading to a 3-1-0 record. The top line can't carry them for the whole season though, which is the problem. In fact, goaltending has also saved the Islanders thus far.
I predict the Isles lower lines will get out of the drought soon, and to be honest, they better. They have so much talent on their team with guys like Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, Blake Comeau, Josh Bailey, etc.
Grabner, Nielsen, and Okposo are a great second line. They're going to need to prove me right by putting some points on the board; they're definitely capable of it. Grabner scored 34 goals last year, but has one so far. He should be able to pick it up, allowing Nielsen and Okposo to improve as well.
Brian Rolston, Marty Reasoner, Jay Pandolfo, Matt Martin, and Blake Comeau need to pick it up and pull their weight as well. Comeau is a 20-goal scorer, and the rest can score about 10-15.
The point is, if the Islanders want to continue their success, and make a run for the playoffs, they're going to need more production than just Tavares, Moulson, and Parenteau.
So far, the Isles record is owed to the top line and the goaltending, but they can't depend on them for the entire season. The other three lines better snap out of it, and fast, or the Isles may find themselves struggling real soon.
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