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Streaking second line snipers

Bailey, Nielsen, Okposo filling the net together

Wednesday, 03.28.2012 / 5:57 PM / 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

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 51 32 15 4 166 133 68
2 MTL 49 32 14 3 130 111 67
3 DET 50 29 12 9 149 129 67
4 NYI 49 32 16 1 158 139 65
5 PIT 50 28 14 8 145 129 64
6 BOS 50 27 16 7 134 124 61
7 NYR 47 28 15 4 139 112 60
8 WSH 50 25 15 10 147 129 60
9 FLA 47 21 16 10 115 132 52
10 PHI 51 22 22 7 140 151 51
11 OTT 48 20 19 9 136 136 49
12 TOR 51 22 25 4 144 156 48
13 NJD 50 19 22 9 113 138 47
14 CBJ 48 21 24 3 120 151 45
15 CAR 49 17 26 6 105 129 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 49 23 25 -1 48
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 49 9 25 15 34
B. Nelson 49 15 16 5 31
F. Nielsen 49 9 18 4 27
J. Boychuk 39 4 21 15 25
J. Bailey 37 8 14 7 22
N. Leddy 49 7 14 13 21
N. Kulemin 49 11 9 0 20
A. Lee 43 13 5 6 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 26 10 0 .912 2.42
C. Johnson 6 6 0 .865 3.43

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