The New York Islanders put on a show for the home fans Friday night, blasting the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-3, behind a career-high four goals from Kyle Okposo, who netted three in the third period alone.
“It was a good win for us and an even bigger night for Kyle,” New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey said on Ferrall on the Bench. “It was a great game. We were definitely real excited for him. Hopefully (he’ll have) many more goals heading down the stretch here.”
The Islanders trailed 2-1 after the first period and 3-2 after the second before scoring four straight in the third. Michael Grabner and Ryan Strome found the back of the net for the Islanders, while Bailey finished with a game-high three assists.
With the win, the Islanders (30-13-1) overtook the Penguins (26-11-6) for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
“It was a great night,” Bailey said. “Happened at a great time. Obviously it was a big game for our team to take sole possession of first place against a great opponent in Pittsburgh. He had a heck of a game here tonight. We’re all real excited for him.”
Bailey has really enjoyed playing with Okposo and John Tavares.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Bailey said. “I think when you get those chances, you want to make the most of them. Tonight was a good step in the right direction. It’s a lot of fun. Winning’s fun, and obviously when you’re able to produce and get some points, it makes it even better. Another tough one tomorrow night, but we’ll enjoy this one for a little while here and then get ready for Montreal.”
Indeed, it’s a great time to be an Islanders fan – aside from the fact that they’re losing their arena. This is their final year in Nassau Coliseum, as play begins in Brooklyn next season.
For Scott Ferrall, that is unfortunate. Playing in a new arena will be great on many levels, but the Islanders belong on, well, the island.
“I agree with you,” Bailey said. “Even this rink, this has been home for a long time for obviously the organization and for myself now seven years. I love playing here. You see tonight – whether you’re watching the game on TV or you’re here in person – the atmosphere was like a nightclub by the end of the game. The music gets so loud and the people are all into it. You get the chants going, pull up to the rink at 4:30, people are tailgating and getting all fired up. I think we’re going to miss the Coliseum for sure. But the best thing we can do at this point is keep winning games and give the fans something to cheer abut doing the stretch. That’s really our goal.”
Following Saturday’s game against Montreal, the Islanders will return home to face the Philadelphia Flyers (17-21-7) on Monday at 1 p.m. ET.