Heading into this season, the New York Islanders had yet to see Michael Dal Colle produce offensively over his three-plus years in the NHL. The fifth overall selection back in 2014 started to play a more physical brand of hockey last season, doing what he needed to do to get into the lineup as much as possible.
In the slim 4-3 victory over the Penguins, Dal Colle may have had his best overall performance at the NHL level, picking up two assists, a block and a takeaway in 13:56 TOI. He also made responsible plays all game long, getting pucks deep when need be. It was also his first career multi-point performance.
“I thought we played a pretty solid game,” Dal Colle said following the second-line’s strong performance. “For me, it’s two pretty easy guys to play with. Two really good players in the league that have played a lot of games.”
“I thought we made some really nice plays offensively and (we) were pretty sound defensively as well.”
Dal Colle’s first assist of the game came on Jordan Eberle’s first goal of the night. With time and space, Eberle roofed a backhand to beat Penguins’ netminder Tristan Jarry blocker-side to give the Islanders a crucial 1-0 lead.
— NHL (@NHL) February 7, 2021
But it was Dal Colle’s pass that set up the goal, as he made a great play inside the blue line before he fed his linemate in stride.
Later in the first after the Penguins knotted the game at one, Eberle lit the lamp again.
🔥 EBERLE 🔥 pic.twitter.com/pSZNpNjo0j
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 7, 2021
Dal Colle here was double-teamed but found a way to dish the puck to Brock Nelson in the slot. While the pass was a little ahead of his centerman, Nelson still got a strong shot on goal, as Eberle wacked the rebound into the back of the net.
After his strong offensive showing in the 4-3 win over the Penguins, Dal Colle got another opportunity on the second line against the Rangers Monday night.
On his first shift of the game, Dal Colle made a strong play to obtain the puck in the Rangers’ zone before he dished it to one of his defenders at the blue line. As the shift continued in the offensive zone, he hooked Jacob Trouba. Fortunately for him, the Islanders killed off his minor penalty.
Dal Colle’s next shift saw him work his tail off. He forechecked hard, as well as made a key play in his own zone along the boards. But it was for sure a much slower start for the second line in this game.
Dal Colle saw 5:11 minutes of ice time as the first came to a close.
Just a minute into the second period, Dal Colle’s linemate Jordan Eberle beat New York Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin, but the puck caromed off the post and out.
— zetna (@zetnasilver) February 9, 2021
Dal Colle skated through the slot with his stick down, as he was ready if a pass came his way. While Eberle may have been thinking shot the whole time, Rangers’ defenseman K’Andre Miller had to respect the pass, which allowed Eberle to get a strong shot on goal.
This play will not get recognition, but if Dal Colle failed to be in that spot, Miller could have attacked Eberle. Nelson also slid in backdoor, but Miller’s positioning would have made that pass a rather difficult one to make in this situation.
With a little over seven minutes to be played in the second, Islanders’ netminder Semyon Varlamov stoned elite-winger Artemi Panarin on the one-timer. While this was an incredible save, Michael Dal Colle lost Panarin in the defensive zone for just a few seconds, which could have been costly.
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) February 9, 2021
Dal Colle realized his mistake way too late, as this was not the player to lose in the offensive zone.
In the second period, no. 28 saw only 2:11 minutes of ice time.
Dal Colle was rather non-existent in the third period as he ended his night with only 11:01 minutes played, almost a full three-minutes shy of his ice time on Saturday.
With Anthony Beauvillier returning sooner than later, has Dal Colle done enough to solidify himself in the lineup? Last night’s performance was not stellar, with a few mistakes that could have cost his team two points. But it is all about making adjustments at the NHL level.
Dal Colle and his line had way more success against the Penguins then they did against the Rangers. With Pittsburgh coming to town on Thursday, I would like to see Dal Colle get another crack in that second-line spot to see if he can bounce back.