UNIONDALE, NY—Martin Biron waited more than a month for a chance to appear in a NHL game.
Biron’s patience paid off as the 32-year-old posted wins in consecutive starts in a six-day span. With the impending Olympic break, Biron did his best to showcase his skills before the league’s March 3 trade deadline.
Scott Gordon said Biron is handling the team’s three-man goaltender situation professionally. Dwayne Roloson and Biron started the campaign as a platoon before Rick DiPietro’s return from injury last month.
Roloson started Sunday night against Ottawa and made 31 saves before the Ottawa Senators scored a trio of third-period goals to send the Islanders into the Olympic break with nine
losses in its last 11 games.
The logjam regulated Biron to third-string status that resulted in a conditioning stint in AHL Bridgeport. But Biron returned against Nashville last Tuesday after previously appearing for the Islanders back on Dec. 27. He made 24 saves in a win over the Predators and logged another 38 stops to push the club to a 5-4 win over Tampa Bay on Saturday.
Biron’s successful week can give general manager Garth Snow leverage in trade talks while also providing the Islanders fledging playoff hopes a much-needed boost before the two-week stoppage for the winter games.
“Marty is at the point where he just wants to play and he’s not thinking a lot about what’s going to happen before and after the deadline,” Gordon said. “With all the inactivity he when Ricky came back, it’s gotten to the point that he’s just happy to be playing.”
The team’s goal-scorers seem happy that Biron is back. Through two games, the Islanders have scored eight regulation goals. That support was lacking in Biron’s earlier appearances as the Isles scored just nine goals in Biron’s seven games before his inactive stretch from Dec. 27-to-Feb.9.
“He’s probably loving the fact he’s getting some goal support [in] making his job a little easier,” Gordon said.
Biron’s start against Steven Stamkos and the Lightning came after DiPietro was scratched with the flu. He is 203-173-25-22 with a .911 career save percentage and a 2.61 goals against average.
The Islanders are also getting contributions for another Martin: rookie Matt Martin. The 20-year-old tallied two assists in his NHL debut and used his 6-2 frame to give the Isles toughness that had been lacking earlier this season.
When Tampa Bay’s Mattias Ohlund checked top overall draft pick John Tavares hard into the s bench-side boards, Martin immediately skated over to confront Ohlund before Tampa’s Nate Thompson stepped in.
Martin fought Thompson exchanged numerous punches in a fight that ended in a draw. Martin registered 91 penalty minutes in 53 games for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers before getting promoted.[book id=” /]