Ryan Strome already has made a positive impact with his new team, and the 29-year-old center should find plenty of motivation when the Anaheim Ducks open a five-game road trip at the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Strome was selected fifth overall by the Islanders at the 2011 NHL Draft.
New York traded him six years later for Jordan Eberle, now a member of the Seattle Kraken, who lost 5-4 to the Ducks in overtime on Wednesday night.
Strome spent the past 3 1/2 seasons playing for the New York Rangers, who the Ducks visit on Monday.
The Ontario, Canada native signed a five-year, $25-million deal with the Ducks in July and didn’t waste any time demonstrating his value, contributing a goal and two assists in the season-opening win against the Kraken.
Strome set up the first goal of the season 51 seconds into the game, winning the puck on the forecheck and quickly passing it out to rookie Mason McTavish. He then made a centering pass to Troy Terry for the goal.
After the Kraken scored three straight goals with a man-advantage, Strome scored a power-play goal of his own late in the second period. That cut the deficit to 3-2 and provided Anaheim a major boost heading into the second intermission.
“We can definitely build off of (the season opener), an exciting win for us as a team to take that next step, ” Strome said. “To win a game like this early on is a good feeling, to get that winning vibe, especially going on a tough road trip now. We took care of the first one and we just have to keep getting better every day.”
The Islanders open their season with four straight home games. They lost their season-opener 3-1 to the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
New York outshot the Panthers, outhit them, won considerably more faceoffs, and held Florida without a goal on all five of its power plays, but still came away with no points in the debut for coach Lane Lambert, who replaced Barry Trotz in the offseason.
“We’ve got to regroup here,” Islanders forward Casey Cizikas said. “Realize the things that we did well (on Thursday) and carry that into the next one on Saturday.”
The Islanders will likely come back with Ilya Sorokin in goal. He stopped 26 of 28 shots against the Panthers.
Sorokin also won his only two career starts against the Ducks last season, including one via shutout.
He made 34 saves in a 4-0 win at Anaheim on Feb. 27, the fifth of seven shutouts for the 27-year-old Russian last season.
The Ducks will likely come back with John Gibson in goal. He made 44 saves against the Kraken on Wednesday and delivered a heady assist on the overtime goal.
Gibson is 4-1-1 in his career against the Islanders with a .925 save percentage and 2.38 goals-against average.
The Ducks hope to supplement their offense with another productive night from their power-play unit, which went 2 of 3 against Seattle.
Terry, who also scored the game-winner against the Kraken, said the power play can help carry a stagnant offense early in a season.
“You need your power play,” he said. “The power play can keep you in these races at the start until your 5-on-5 game catches up.”
–Field Level Media