At the trade deadline this year, Islanders’ general manager Lou Lamoriello knew his team was ailing.
The Isles had lost top-pairing d-man Adam Pelech a month earlier to what would have been a season-ending leg injury. They had been without Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck, two thirds of one of their most important units — the fourth line. And to top things off, the team was fading fast from possible playoff contention.
Lamoriello decided he needed reinforcements, them being veteran blueliner Andy Greene and talented center J.G. Pageau.
He traded for both a week apart. Greene on February 18th; Pageau the 25th.
Pageau and Greene never really got much time to assimilate with the team, as the coronavirus pandemic hit just a few weeks later which prompted the league to shut down. The Isles were also 0-3-4 during the period both came to the organization.
That all seems in the past now.
Reason being that last night — six months to the day of the Pageau trade — Pageau and Greene’s strong performances were key in the Isles’ 4-0 game one win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Greene, who had his best game as an Islander, recorded a goal, a team-high four blocked shots and two hits. His most important contribution — other than the goal — was his crucial skate save on Philly’s Travis Konecny kept the lead for the Isles as the first period winded down.
Have yourself a period Andy Greene pic.twitter.com/aDanylTbUS
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) August 24, 2020
But Greene was really a force all game long, another example of why Lamoriello dealt for him.
His veteran presnece has really come to the forefront since after game one of the Panthers series, when he replaced fellow d-man Johnny Boychuk who took a high hit from Florida’s Mike Matheson.
“Greener is so solid back there,” captain Anders Lee said following the win. “He has such a veteran presence, he’s been around, he’s seen a lot and played in a ton of big games. His experience has been extremely valuable for us and our d-core.
“Such a great guy that’s come into our room and really made a phenomenal impact. Tonight, to really get us going, that was huge,” Lee added.
Now about Pageau, who just continues to be a stellar performer.
It was a quiet game for him overall last night, but when the time came for him to come up big, he scored the insurance goal early in the third which all but drowned the Flyers’ hope of any comeback.
Credit should go to Leo Komarov and Ross Johnston for starting the sequence, but it was Pageau’s soft touch and quick stick which led to his fifth goal in ten postseason games thus far.
Pageau and Greene continue to excel and have been key to the overall success the Islanders have had in the postseason thus far.
And last night it was on full display, making Lou Lamoriello look like a genius once again.