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Streaking second line snipers

Bailey, Nielsen, Okposo filling the net together

Wednesday, 03.28.2012 / 5:57 PM ET / News
By Cory Wright
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Streaking second line snipers
Tuesday’s five-goal effort against the Pittsburgh Penguins marked the third time this season that the Islanders put up five goals inside 40 minutes. There were a few notable names missing from the score sheet as the Islanders potent top line was held pointless.

However, three of the team’s hottest players, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey, picked up the slack with eight points against the Penguins.

“The three of us are going really well,” Bailey said. “It’s always nice to get rewarded with some points and help this team win ultimately. It was a good road trip for us.”
Bailey & Okposo celebrate one of their lines' many goals Tuesday night in Pittsburgh at the CONSOL Energy Center.

All drafted by the Islanders and developing through the system, this trio have taken off as a three-man unit over the past two games.

“The way he [Nielsen] distributes the puck, he makes his wingers better players,” Bailey said. “I’ve been a beneficiary of that, like a number of other guys.”

Bailey, a natural center, was the key distributor on Tuesday night, racking up a career-high three assists, setting up Nielsen twice and feeding David Ullstrom a backdoor pass.

Okposo, a power forward and finisher, battles in the corners and brings size to the line as well as a big target for the two playmakers.

“He’s big when he’s protecting the puck and creating space for us,” Nielsen said.

Gelling Together on the Road

Nielsen, Bailey and Okposo have all hit their stride on the team’s recent five-game trip. Nielsen has eight points (4g/4a) in his last five games, Bailey is on a five-game point-streak (1g/6a) and Okposo has goals in three straight. The Islanders went 4-1, winning in very hostile buildings like the Bell Centre and CONSOL Energy Center.

“I don’t mind those longer road trips where you are together,” Nielsen said. “It’s different than just going one game and coming back home. For some reason when you’re away for a while you usually come back with at least two wins, if you play four games. I don’t know what it is, but it’s just different.”

Nielsen may not have the reason for that success, but he is on to something. On the Islanders three road trips this season in which they played four or more games, they walked away with a combined 8-3-2 record. They took seven of eight points in a late November-early December swing and eight of 10 on their longest trip of the season in the last two weeks.

“When you are on the road together, you spend a bit more time as a team,” Bailey said. “It’s always good for team bonding. We have a great group of guys. We are all really close and getting along well. It’s definitely an enjoyable room to be a part of.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 11 6 5 -3 11
K. Okposo 11 2 6 -3 8
F. Nielsen 11 3 3 -3 6
B. Nelson 11 1 4 -5 5
T. Hickey 11 1 4 -5 5
A. Quine 10 1 4 -1 5
S. Prince 11 3 1 -1 4
R. Strome 8 1 3 1 4
N. Leddy 11 1 3 1 4
N. Kulemin 11 1 3 -5 4
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Greiss 5 6 2 .923 2.46
J. Berube 0 0 0 1.000 0.00
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