30 December 2011
Uniondale, NY -- The Islanders featured different line combinations in their 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. The new top line of Matt Moulson, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, who were the Islanders strongest line all night, highlighted the new line combinations.
The new lines also included Rolston being paired with Nielsen and Parenteu; Bailey with Grabner and Martin and Niederreiter with Wallace and Reasoner. Head coach Jack Capuano decided to change up the line combinations following the teams 3-0 loss the New York Rangers on Monday.
“There’s no magic to what we try to do,” Capuano said about the process used to come up with the new lines. “We just tried to tweek it a little bit and try to balance a little bit of the lines. We went through a really bad stretch where we haven’t scored to many goals. We’ve been shut out at home quite a bite. Not to say that was a determining factor tonight, but when you talk to the guys prior to the game they know there’s a change coming as well. I think all four lines contributed tonight.”
The new lines reinvigorated the Islanders play last night. Indeed, all four lines did contribute, but the top line of Tavares, Okposo and Moulson were the biggest contributors of the night. They were on the ice for the teams’ first two goals.
“We had a lot of chances,” Okposo said following the win. “I’ve played with those guys before and we seem to have good chemistry out there. We could have had a couple more goals, Kiprusoff played really well, and it was a strong night tonight by our group.”
Okposo has played with Moulson and Tavares before. During the 2009-2010 season he was paired up with the two.
“I think a lot of people forget we played quite a bit in our first year together, at least my first year here together,” Tavares said after the game. We had a lot of success that year. Even though it’s only the first game in a long time we played together I know the way he plays. He’s a strong guy and makes real strong plays and really strong on the puck down low and got some nice set of hands too to make some nice plays. We’re able to do that and obviously we know the way Mouly plays, so we’re able to generate some chances and hopefully we can burry a few more than we had tonight.”
The line finished the game with a combined three points on the night.
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