Nelson shines in Isles win over Nashville

Friday, 09.27.2013 / 11:06 PM ET / News
By Corey Hersch
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Nelson shines in Isles win over Nashville
Brock Nelson notched two assists while playing on a line with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin

On a night that saw five different Islanders total six goals, a case can be made for a non-goal-scorer being considered among the strongest players on the ice in a 6-4 victory over the Nashville Predators. Though he did not score, Brock Nelson had the primary assist on both of the Islanders second-period goals, played on both the penalty kill and power play, and had great chemistry with linemates Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.

“We had a good night,” Nelson said. “Our line was able to generate a lot of chances and I was happy with the way we played.”

None of the three players who formed the Islanders third line Friday played with the team in the 2012-13 regular season. In fact Nelson, just 21 years old, is the only player to have donned the Islanders sweater. After leading AHL Bridgeport with 52 points last season, the University of North Dakota product made his NHL debut in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Regardless of their unfamiliarity with each other, the three newcomers’ games have meshed into a formidable trio for the Islanders. After practicing together all week, Nelson, Regin, and Bouchard looked as if they’d been linemates for years.

“I think it really helped,” Nelson said of this week’s practices. “We went over a lot of things and became familiar with each other’s games. I think it really showed in the game and we were able to generate a lot of chances.”

Though he’s yet to play in a NHL regular season game, Nelson impressed his veteran linemates with his steady play throughout the night.

“He’s a great player and you saw that tonight,” Regin said. “We’ve actually been killing penalties a lot together but tonight was the first time in a game we’ve been on the same line. He’s easy to play with. He plays a simple game but he’s still a very skilled guy, so he’s fun to play with.”

Nelson’s first assist came after his pass found Colin McDonald right in front. McDonald didn’t get all of his stick on it, but did enough to beat Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne. Eight minutes later, Neslon wound up and blasted a slap shot through traffic from the blue line, which deflected off Matt Donovan and gave the Islanders a 5-1 lead.

“I just tried to get the puck through the screen,” Nelson said. “[Donovan] said it nicked off his jersey so give him credit for making a good play and going hard to the net.”

As Nelson has played more games with the Islanders and earned the trust of the coaching staff, he’s become more comfortable on the ice.

“I just tried to go out and play my game,” Nelson said. “I wasn’t worried about making mistakes or anything like that. That’s going to happen a lot in this game and most of the time, it’s how you bounce back from them. The coaches just told me to go out there and be confident and that was able to help me relax and have a good game.”

An injury to Cal Clutterbuck earlier in the preseason has opened up a spot on the Islanders roster, at least to start the season. With the Islanders preseason schedule coming to a close Sunday with split-squad games against the Ottawa Senators, Nelson has one more chance to prove he’s deserving of the position.

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Bailey 2 1 2 1 3
R. Strome 2 2 0 1 2
B. Nelson 2 2 0 2 2
K. Okposo 2 1 1 1 2
J. Tavares 2 0 2 1 2
C. Clutterbuck 2 1 0 1 1
C. de Haan 2 0 1 0 1
M. Martin 2 0 1 0 1
L. Visnovsky 2 0 1 3 1
F. Nielsen 2 0 1 0 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 1 1 0 .917 2.52

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