Okposo Found His Game

Islanders forward Kyle Okposo put an end to scoring drought, scoring two goals and an assist in Isles 4-3 overtime loss to Flyers

Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 10:59 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Okposo Found His Game
Forward Kyle Okposo had his breakout game for this season, scoring two goals and an assist in the Islanders 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. The performance was long overdue.

“The goals are product of how I played I think,” Okposo said. “I finally got back to how I play my game. It was just unfortunate we couldn’t pull it out in the end.”

Kyle Okposo celebrates his first goal of the 2011-2012 season with teammates Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen during the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Coliseum on November 23, 2011. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Head Coach Jack Capuano, while scratching Okposo in three straight games (Nov. 15, 17 & 19), had faith that the winger would find his game.

“I thought Kyle really responded tonight and clearly was one of the better players on the ice,” Capauno said. “It was good to see that. I thought he played exceptionally well.”

Wednesday night, Okposo was not only the best Islanders player on the ice, he regained his confidence after scoring his first goal of the season. Just 19 seconds after the Flyers Andrej Meszaros scored to take a 1-0 lead 18 seconds off the opening faceoff, through the slot, Okposo found the back of the net going five-hole on Ilya Bryzgalov off a pass from linemate Michael Grabner in the trapezoid.

“It was big for my confidence,” Okposo said. “It was definitely nice to get that one.”

He continued, “I’m going to try and play like that every night, work hard every night. Goals are just a byproduct of how I played.”

That confidence was more than apparent. All night long he made smooth passes, rushed 200 feet for breakaways and created multiple offensive scoring chances for himself and his linemates, getting on the board with two shots, two attempts blocked and two won faceoffs.

Okposo scored his second of the night on the power play off a tic-tac-toe rush up ice at 10:26. Grabner made a cross-ice pass to Josh Bailey who found Okposo rushing to the paint for the one timer.

“I felt good tonight and that’s the way that I know how to play,” Okposo said. “I don’t what it was from the beginning of the year, but I wasn’t doing it and just something clicked mentally and I’m just happy to be back.”

Ilya Bryzgalov watches the puck fly into the net for a goal by Kyle Okposo (not pictured) at Nassau Coliseum on November 23, 2011. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Okposo and Grabner would complete their three-point night as Grabner scored to bring the Islanders ahead 3-1 at 18:29 of the first. Grabner’s goal came as he released a one-timer through the high slot after Okposo found him in the empty space.

“We played good last year together and we had a lot of struggles at the beginning of the year,” Grabner said. “Today was a pretty good game for our line. We created a lot of chances, especially early on. We just have to build on that.”

Unfortunately, the outcome wasn’t what everyone was hoping for. The Flyers came back to score a goal in each of the next two periods (Scott Hartnell at 5:24 in the second and Danny Briere at 14:18 in the third), leveling the score and bringing on the overtime period. Despite the loss, the effort wasn’t without chances.

The Islanders drew a hooking penalty on Hartnell and earned a 4-on-3 advantage 21 seconds into the extra session and Capuano put the Grabner-Nielsen-Okposo line onto the ice for the second minute as they created some magical chances that left fans gasping for air. Briere would score the winning goal at 2:34.

“We had some opportunities on the power play late,” Capuano said. “I thought they were real aggressive. They worked hard on the 4-on-3, they really came hard on that penalty kill and we couldn’t close it out.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 77 34 43 -2 77
R. Strome 76 16 32 20 48
K. Okposo 55 16 31 -11 47
F. Nielsen 76 14 28 8 42
B. Nelson 77 19 22 7 41
A. Lee 71 23 16 10 39
J. Bailey 65 15 23 3 38
J. Boychuk 67 8 25 9 33
N. Leddy 73 10 21 14 31
T. Hamonic 67 5 26 16 31
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 36 16 2 .913 2.42
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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