Islanders' 'rock star' Mathew Barzal relishes playing on big stage

Mathew Barzal (Getty Pictures)

BROOKLYN — Mathew Barzal swears he holds no private grudge towards the New York Rangers.

But, the Islanders rookie sensation – and Calder Trophy favourite – positive appears to take pleasure in placing a beatdown on his staff’s largest rival.

After aiding on all three Islander objectives in Thursday’s three-zero win over the Rangers Thursday on the Barclays Middle, Barzal already has 9 factors in solely three profession video games towards the Blueshirts.

“It’s not simply (the Rangers), I really like playing big video games,” Barzal defined to Sporting Information. “Even in Junior, I liked playing within the big video games, and that’s what makes it enjoyable. (Thursday) was enjoyable. Proper from the get-go, it was intense.  That will get me going.”

MORE: Islanders’ GM Garth Snow states “I am not buying and selling John Tavares”

Definitely, the Rangers-Islanders rivalry produces a playoff-like environment even in the course of the common season. And the 20-yr-previous scoring whiz clearly feeds off that power.

“Once you hear followers chirping one another, chanting Rangers and Islanders, it’s a lot enjoyable and elevates my recreation,” stated Barzal.

It began this previous Oct. 19 when Barzal scored his first NHL aim in his baptism of the Rangers-Islanders rivalry, a four-three shootout win for the Isles. Barzal admitted that playing at Madison Sq. Backyard “makes you are feeling like a rock star.”

Like a real rock star, Barzal took middle stage when the groups met once more at MSG on Jan. thirteen. In that 7-2 Islanders victory, Barzal scored twice and added three assists for his second of three 5-level video games already in his first NHL season.

“I feel it’s simply the magnitude of the rivalry, it will get me going, for positive,” said Barzal, who leads all rookies with sixty two factors and forty six assists. “For me, I really like playing within the big video games when the gang is happy. All 3 times we’ve performed these guys, it seems like a playoff recreation, and you may really feel that wealthy rivalry.”

Thursday’s conflict was thick with playoff implications for each groups. With the victory, the Islanders moved three factors away from the Rangers within the tight Japanese Convention standings and inside some extent of the second and ultimate playoff seed held by the Carolina Hurricanes, whom the Isles face in Raleigh Friday night time.

Barzal helped arrange Josh Bailey for an influence play aim simply four:fifty three into the competition. Then at 15:06 of the second interval, he made an ideal move from the proper-wing boards to a chopping Nick Leddy, who in flip discovered Jordan Eberle on their lonesome to bury his twentieth aim right into a yawning internet.

The rookie accomplished his seventh recreation of three factors or extra, aiding on Thomas Hickey’s third-interval objective – an excellent move by way of the slot that opened a lane to the web for the Isles defenseman.

“It’s not simply towards the Rangers, he’s been playing rather well for us all season lengthy,” stated Bailey. “He’s so artful, and he’s capable of create area for himself and his linemates, and you may see the outcomes.”

There have been some rising pains for Barzal this season. Simply this previous week he was benched in a recreation towards the Calgary Flames – two nights after one other 5-level effort in a wild extra time victory over the Detroit Purple Wings.

Not surprisingly he was again on the upswing dealing with the Rangers on Thursday.

“You possibly can sense the rivalry,” Barzal concluded. “It’s a lot enjoyable to play in such an thrilling recreation with the entire metropolis, the entire hockey base in New York, watching and excited for the sport.

“That is the environment I really like playing in.”