In all the commotion of last night's shootout win--Streit's late game-tying goal, Tavares' decisive shootout winner, and an important win for Martin Biron( not to mention the team as a whole)--I didn't get to devote enough time and space to Bridgeport call-up Matt Martin.
Hard to imagine a better debut for Martin, who brought the Islanders a much-needed infusion of size, energy and physicality in front of the net. In his first NHL game, Martin had two assists and proved such a presence down low that he warranted time with the first power-play unit by game's end. He also took home the team's hard hat trophy for his effort.
"It was a lot of fun, definitely," Martin said of last night's experience. "I was very nervous during my first shift, but I was able to get some of it out during warmups, get those looks across the ice and into the stands out of the way. It's the same game, but just faster and smarter. It was a lot of fun."
Being able to make an immediate impact for the strugglng Islanders team also provided Martin with a big boost.
"I think it's huge for me to show the coaching staff I can contribute at this level and that I'm on my way to being an NHL'er," Martin said. " For my own confidence, it was good to get a couple of points and to show that physically I'm able to contribute."
After the game last night, Gordon praised Martin's tenacity in front of the net, particularly on the power play, and said that was something that struck him when he watchd Martin play in Bridgeport recently.
Considering last night was his first taste of playing much bigger and stronger competition, Martin certainly proved that he was not too timid to bang bodies with anyone on the ice.
"That's one of the biggest attributes of my game and one of the reasons I'm up," Martin said. "I play fearless. It doesn't matter who you are, I'm going to run at you. I may get knocked down, but I'll get right back up."
Martin knows he made a good case for himself last night, but that the key issue now will be sustainability.
"I think I just have to continue to do the little things. I'm not going to dazzle people with my skill, but I'm going to work hard, play with energy, get in on the forecheck and all the other things I have to bring to stay at this level."