Horvat scored his first goal with the Islanders on Tuesday, helping the his new club beat the Seattle Kraken 4-0.
Perhaps fittingly, Horvat's 32nd tally of the season — and first in an Isles sweater — set a new career high for goals for the former Canucks captain. With 55 points in 51 games, Horvat’s also well on his way to achieving a new personal-best for points (61 back in 2018-19).
That wasn't the only career milestone Horvat achieved on the goal. After returning to the bench, Horvat received a raucous standing ovation and had fans chanting his name, something the nine-year NHL veteran had never experienced before.
“It was pretty amazing. I haven't had a chant like that in a building, that loud, I don't think ever, so that was pretty amazing,” Horvat said after the game.
Standing ovation and "HORVAT" chants from the Isles faithful after his 1st goal with the team 👏 pic.twitter.com/mYSbX09BFC
— Gino Hard (@GinoHard_) February 8, 2023
In some ways, that goal is how Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello likely pictured it: dynamic center Mathew Barzal using his elusiveness to evade defenders, and his playmaking to dish to Horvat where he makes his (clearly lucrative) living: the “home-plate” area in front of the net. Ultimately, the imperfections might just make it even more exciting, though. While Barzal found Horvat alone in a dangerous area with plenty of time and space, the puck wasn’t perfectly flat. It required precision and fabulous hand-eye coordination to score that goal, something that Horvat brings to the Islanders.
During his Islanders debut on Monday, Horvat didn’t generate any points, but he fired four shots on goal, and the Islanders beat the Flyers 2-1. Going forward, Horvat gives the Islanders a sorely-needed sniper, not to mention someone who can win some key draws — including on a power play that could use some help.
After Tuesday’s victory, the Islanders are now on a four-game winning streak, improving their record to 27-22-5. While there’s still a lot of work to do to actually earn a playoff spot, the Bo Horvat experiment is off to a promising start for the Islanders.
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