New York Islanders forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau is known for his ping pong abilities, off the ice. But on Thursday night in the season opener against the Florida Panthers, he brought his ping-pong skills onto the ice with him.
In the second period, while the Florida Panthers were on the power play, offseason acquisition Matt Tkachuk had a glorious chance to score the first goal of the contest after Ilya Sorokin allowed a rebound.
The shot off Tkachuk’s stick took a hop towards the goal line and seemed to be on its way to crossing the goal line. But not so fast, as Jean-Gabriekl Pageau, who was guarding the back post, did what he could to wack the puck out of the blue paint.
It was a rather difficult play for Pageau, as he was on his forehand and all he could do was wack the puck down towards the post.
Somehow the play by Pageau worked and the puck stayed out.
Fantastic defensive play by J.G. Pageau to save a goal pic.twitter.com/Ad6nFALwrg
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) October 14, 2022
Jean-Gabriel is a player who has showcased strong hand-eye coordination throughout his NHL career. He may not get a lot of credit for what he does on the ice, but the reason the New York Islanders acquired him back on the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline and gave him a six-year extension for $30 million was because he pays attention to the defensive side of the puck.
The New York Islanders eventually allowed a goal in the second period. The Panthers were all over the Islanders during the middle frame and to escape that period with just one goal against was a positive.
Without Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s play, the Islanders enter the third period down two goals against the 2021-22 President Trophy Winners.