Perfect, no. Fun, usually. Win for the home team? Yep.
Christopher Gibson credited his teammates for keeping shots to the outside. He was pretty good on the ones that weren’t, and his teammates were opportunistic against the defending top goalie in the AHL.
“It was definitely a little bit sloppy,” Brent Thompson said. “First game. That’s to be expected, nerves.”
He thought the team got better within its team structure as the game went on. The Whitney-Kearns-Beck line combined for five points.
“I loved (the combination). We had a ton of chances, and I think we each put one in,” Beck said.
The defense was jumping, too. Adam Pelech was in front of the other net a couple of times. Jesse Graham jumped into the rush to score the winning goal.
“We encourage our defense to come as a second wave, to be involved in the rush,” Thompson said. “It’s kind of the motto of the Islanders organization. … The goal rewarded. He finds that late seam, or pocket, very, very well. But we can’t forget about our own end. We’ll continue to work on our defensive zone. That’ll come with time.”
When they didn’t have that, they had Gibson. Good start against a good team.
Wait, the guy who played a full season with a good Nashville team last year played well? I know, but yeah, Taylor Beck kind of stood out to me. A lot of little plays. Early on, in a back-and-forth game, he took a puck away that turned momentum in Bridgeport’s favor for a few shifts. Kearns, in the postgame first-star interview with Geremy, credited Beck with a good play on the wall on the play that turned into the short-handed goal. “I was very happy with Beck, his two-way game, really, his effort,” Brent Thompson said. “He was smart away from the puck. His effort level was there. That was important, with his experience.”
Justin Bourne has talked about this kind of thing before, but a deft little move by Adam Pelech on the game-winner. Matt Finn had been on but went for a change on the rush. When Jesse Graham, Finn’s defense partner, scored the goal, Pelech went right back to the bench so Finn could come back on and get the plus. Worked: Finn, Graham and Kearns were plus-3, and Beck was plus-4.
And Jack Jablonski, the Minnesota teenager seriously injured in a game four years ago? Now an L.A. Kings PR intern and a USC communications student, writes the O.C. Register (and apologies for losing the reference on Twitter). Cool.