First off, we have to give credit where it's due, and in this case we owe Doug of Official's Outlook gratitude for dreaming up a clever line name. While we had assumed that Josh Bailey (the O-T-B Line, anyone?) or more likely a veteran would begin the season playing on a line with Messrs. Okposo and Tavares, it turned out to be dark horse candidate Matt Mouslon who emerged as the third piece of the trio. We didn't quite know what to think of Coach Scott Gordon's choice as training camp closed, but after two games we can declare: 'Don't change a thing!'
Initially unaware of any connection between the former Los Angeles King (Moulson) and Canada's favorite son/Next One/Mr. Everything (Tavares), it has now come to our attention that the two grew up in close proximity to each other and are very familiar mates. Moulson was born in North York, Ontario, which is a stone's throw from Mississauga, Ontario, where Tavares was raised. Clearly the two have been part of similar circles for years, whether it's been inside the rink or away from it (regarding Toronto area hockey). While Moulson is several years older than John, he expressed some degree of familiarity to those within earshot after the home opener. You know, the one where the duo hooked up for #91's first NHL goal. Anyway, just let it be known that they are familiar with each other, but more importantly, are comfortable playing together.
Fast forward to Thursday (10/8) night in their home province, where Gordon's shrewd move again paid dividends. The Islanders took on not Toronto, but Ottawa, in that team's home opener. And while JT's shots were stymied all evening, the Isles rallied from a 2-0 deficit on goals from Kyle and Moulson. Furthermore, Moulson assisted on Kyle's highlight reel effort (seen here after the commercial), and Tavares helped on his friend Matt's. If that confuses you, just know this: of the 6 total points awarded to Islanders on the stat sheet, four of them were credited to members of the "Moulson Golden" line.
While we were unable to see the entirety of the game (sometimes life does call us away from hockey), we enjoyed the spirit the Islanders exhibited in fighting back and pushing the game to an overtime period. While the Senators eventually prevailed 3-2, we have no quarrels with the effort of any of the skaters or the goaltending. As announcer Billy Jaffe stated after the contest, increased consistency will be the name of the game this season.
Though it's only two games, it's clear that Gordon's scoring line is just fine, and if he feels the team needs work in any areas, we'd advise him not to tinker with the heartwarming cocktail he brewed up in the preseason.
Coming next week, Kyle's thoughts on day games, how he views his linemates, and our thoughts on the team's early performance.