Ryan Strome met his brother on the ice Friday night at the Barclay’s Center. The New York Islanders 5th overall pick in the 2011 draft gave his team a 2-0 advantage in the first period. His brother, 19-year-old Dylan, a third overall pick of the Arizona Coyotes in the 2015 draft, could only watch and be proud.
It was the first time the two met on the ice as professionals as their parents watched and took it all in.
“It was pretty weird,” Ryan said. “Honestly, it’s tough because you’re watching and making sure your brother is doing alright too.” But Johnny Boychuk, the veteran defenseman was the difference with his first career short hand goal in the third period that gave the Islanders a 3-2 win.
This is the early going of a long NHL season, and the Islanders are in that stage of finding out who they are and what will work. Two brothers facing each other for the first time this season lived up to expectations, that is for Ryan who scored his second goal of the season as the Islanders, 2-3-0, rebounded from a 3-2 loss Tuesday night at home to San Jose.
Boychuk is another component to the team, and the 38th goal of his career was unexpected because it was short. Either way, the Islanders will take it and look at this win as a good one during this five game home ice stretch,
“I was a good win for us, especially at home,” said Boychuk. “We need to get as many home points as we can while we have this home stretch. We made simple plays and came up on top.” He said, it was a goal that just went in after Brock Nelson won the faceoff in the Coyotes’ zone.
Boychuk said, “He won the face-off clean and it was rolling. It took a 12-to-6 curve ball and went in.”
Dennis Seidenberg also scored for the Islanders and Jaroslav Halak stopped 23 shots on goal. So the Islanders, in this beginning of a marathon season, got their second win in their first three home games after dropping their first two on the road.
But it was supposed to be about those two brothers on the ice, and it was until Boychuk got that deciding goal and the Coyotes are quickly understanding they are a team that is trying to figure out who they are in the beginning stages of this marathon.
“It was big for us,” said Islanders coach Jack Capuano about how the offense performed from the blue line. And with defenseman Nick Leddy out of the lineup with an upper body injury, his status for Sunday night against Minnesota not determined, that short hand goal and contribution from the line made this a good and well deserved early season win.
That goal from Boychuk got past Louis Domingue, and for a hockey novice it is like a curveball that had a hook at the right time. Except the Islanders at this juncture are looking at these curves as something that is good and will use this win as that momentum builder.
“It’s a competitive league,” said Seidenberg who was signed by the Islanders as a free agent in September and the goal was his first since last February against Detroit.
The Strome brothers will meet again in early January when the Islanders visit Phoenix. Perhaps that night on the ice they will have a shootout that will help their respective teams.
In the meantime, the Islanders will take that unexpected short hand goal and hope for a few more from Boychuk.