A long memory is not the most common thing among sports fans, who generally favor a what-have-you-done-lately attitude. But when a Nassau Coliseum scoreboard "thank you" was offered to Matt Moulson seven minutes into Tuesday night's game against the Minnesota Wild, the crowd bestowed a sustained ovation.
Moulson, shown at that point on the Coliseum video screen as he sat on the Minnesota bench, offered a quick little wave. He then scored the game's first goal at 12:23 of the first period, bringing a lusty cheer. He brought a stronger salute when he wrapped up Minnesota's 6-0 victory with a second goal at 16:34 of the third.
Back on Coliseum ice for the first time since the October trade that sent him to Buffalo (before a deal moved him to Minnesota this month), "I was pretty nervous," Moulson said. "I don't think I slept a minute during the pregame nap today. This was an emotional one. Coming back here is tough for me to get my mind into it, but I think getting that first goal kind of calmed me down."
That goal came the way so many of his 118 were scored in four-plus seasons with the Isles. Moulson pounced on a rebound of Justin Fontaine's shot and flicked it past Anders Nilsson.
More than a few fans were wearing Moulson's replica Islanders' No. 26 jersey. "Obviously, I was here a long time," he said, "and this team had a good place in my heart when I was here. And the fans are great support. It was pretty emotional."
Strait breaks hand
Islanders defenseman Brian Strait suffered a broken left hand in the second period and, as he stood in pain, was almost struck in the head by a Fontaine shot moments later.