Sportlogiq Standout: Mathew Barzal
Selected by: Mike Kelly - Director of Media and Content
Metrics: Offensive Zone Puck Possession, Offensive Zone Pass Completions, Controlled Zone Entries
Mat Barzal was his usual dynamic self last night, helping the Islanders extend their series against the Tampa Bay Lighting with a Game 5 win. In a low-event game for the Islanders, Barzal still managed to put up some incredible numbers that speak to his strengths as a player. Barzal had the puck on his stick (Offensive Zone Puck Possession) for 2:12 which ties Patrick Kane's single-game playoff high. A dominant possession player, Barzal completed 30 passes in the offensive zone - nobody completed more in Game 5. Barzal used his elusiveness and superior skating skills to lead his team in Controlled Zone Entries, as well. His ability to enter the zone successfully and find open teammates was evident on the Islanders first goal of the game where Barzal skated the puck into Lightning territory and drew two defenders to him before completing a back pass to Nick Leddy. That sequence set up Ryan Pulock's one-timer that opened the scoring for the Isles.
A combination of elusiveness, creativity, skating ability, and confidence allows Barzal to be one of the most dangerous players with the puck in the NHL and he had it a ton last night for an Isles team that struggled to generate quality offensive chances for much of the night.
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