NYI vs. WSH - 4/6/21
Tonight's game could wind up as one of the more meaningful games for both sides as they move down the stretch towards the end of their season. The Islanders took on the Caps from the Coliseum for game 3 of their homestand. The last game between these 2 was uncharacteristic from both sides with New York coming away with an 8-4 win. Tonight's game is the type of game we expected between these 2 juggernauts. After a scoreless first and second period and countless opportunities both sides seemed frustrated and contempt to head to overtime but OT would not be needed in this game as Brock Nelson would slide one five hole on Vitek Vanecek to give New York the 1-0 lead. That would be the only goal needed as Semyon Varlamov was outstanding, locking down a 29 save shutout. The Islanders pick up an important 2 points over their division foe Capitals. More importantly they took the game in regulation to steal a point from the Washington Capitals. Make no mistake about it the Caps aren't even remotely in this game without their young goaltender Vitek Vanacek who stopped 38/39. Overall This is just a great hockey game to watch, setting us up for an exciting stretch run.
palmieri & zajac - 4/7/21
While there was no game tonight today will still go down as one of the bigger days of the Islanders season. The Islanders made the biggest trade of the deadline season so far, New York acquired Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from New Jersey in exchange for a 2021 1st round pick, a conditional 4th round pick in 2021, forward AJ Greer and Forward Mason Jobst. Palmieri and Zajac bring the much needed scoring depth for New York and could be the propelling factor behind a deep Islanders playoff run. Overall I think the Islanders won this trade but only time will tell.
NYI vs. PHI - 4/8/21
There was a certain buzz around this game that can only come from a big trade. Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac would male their Islander debuts after the blockbuster trade the night before. Ilya Sorokin got the nod from Barry Trotz as New York looked to take possession of first place in the East Division. The Islanders would get an early goal from Brock Nelson just 6:10 into period 1. Just over a minute later Jordan Eberle would find the back of the net for New York. New York seemed to be in control of the game until a major turning point. Sam Morin of the Flyers played a dirty hit on Islanders forward Casey Cizikas, Morin was ejected and given a 5 minute major penalty. The Islanders absolutely flunked on the powerplay with the Flyers having more opportunities than the Islanders even though New York was on the powerplay. From that point on the Flyers controlled the game. Nick Aube-Kubel would get the Flyers on the board to make the game 2-1. The score would stay the same for the remainder of period 1. Just 3:22 into period 2 Jakub Voracek would find the back of the net to tie the game at 2. We would play the remainder of regulation tied at 2 largely due to Ilya Sorokin. The Islanders and FLyers would each grab a much needed point as we would head to overtime. The Islanders would get a power play with just under 2 minutes to play in overtime which was a perfect opportunity to put this game to bed and secure the win. The Islanders power play was again an absolute flop leading us to a shootout. In round 5 of the shootout Brock Nelson would put a west shot just under the blocker or Carter Hart to put New York on the board. Ilya Sorokin would go 5/5 in the shootout shutting down Joel Farabee to secure the victory for New York. Make no mistake about it this game was very concerning for New York. Their powerplay was just putrid in this game and killed all the momentum they had early on in this game.
NYI vs. NYR - 4/9/21
Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac would get their first taste of the Islanders Rangers rivalry. Of course they have a ton of experience playing against the Rangers in their time with New Jersey but in any case a huge game for both sides as the Rangers look to climb back into the playoff picture and the Islanders look to hold on to first place. After a scoreless first Alexis Lafreniere would open the scoring for the Rangers getting one past Semyon Varlamov. Just 4 minutes later Colin Blackwell would get another one past Varlamov to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. Brock Nelson seemingly got the Isles within one but the goal would go to video review and the play was deemed a high stick (which it was). Just a bit later Andy Greene would net his first of the regulation to officially get the Islanders within one. The second period would end with the Islanders trailing 2-1. K’Andre Miller opened the score for the Rangers in period 3 to extend the Rangers’ lead to 3-1. MIka Zibenejad would score the empty net goal to seal it as the Islanders dropped a disappointing game in which they looked just terrible, they had no legs and just looked disengaged.
NYI vs. NYR - 4/11/21
This Islanders team was frustrated after a disappointing loss in their last game out and they came out a hungry team. Their new acquisition had not played up to their abilities yet but they definitely had they seemed to emerge tonight. There were new lines in town after much outrage from the fans. Oliver Wahlstrom came in for Leo Komarov and it seemed the Islanders had found their “A” lineup. New acquisition Kyle Palmieri opened the scoring with his 9th of the year on the powerplay. The goal came off a Josh Bailey shot which was deflected by Brock Nelson and tapped home by Palmieri to open the scoring for New York and finally cracking through on the powerplay just 1:47 into the game. With just 8 seconds to play in period 1 Barzal and Eberle fed the puck over to Pageau who ripped home a one-timer to extend the lead for the Islanders. The final 8 seconds would tick down and the Islanders took a 2-0 lead to the intermission in a first period they absolutely dominated leading in the shot department (17-8) as well. The second period did not go as planned for the Islanders as the Rangers got on the board with a goal from Libor Hajek off an Islander stick in front. Just 2 minutes later the Rangers would score again as Bredan Smith found a shot in the slot and made no mistake with it too quickly even at the game at 2. The Rangers absolutely dominated period 2 and it set us up for a win and a period win in a game situation. The Rangers controlled most of the third period but not dominated. With just under 2 minutes to play Scott Mayfield and Pavel Buchnevich would head off for roughing and high sticking respectively. We played 4-4 for the final 1:31 of play with no goals scored, both sides grabbed a point and we headed to overtime. The Islanders dominated the overtime frame and Travis Zajac and Mathew Barzal took the puck away and fed Ryan Pulock who made absolutely no mistake with it rifling it home to win the game in overtime. What a relief for Ryan Pulock who had been searching for his first goal of the season. While it was not their best effort tonight, the Islanders came away with 2 points.
The week ahead:
The Islanders start their week with a much needed 3 day break, then a back to back on Thursday and Friday in Boston both at 7:00 PM they also have a game on Sunday in Philly with a 6;30 PM start time. This is an extremely important week for New York not only for the 3 games they play but the 3 day break. This time gives their new acquisitions time to get acquainted even further with the Islanders’ systems then they already are. A good practice will undoubtedly help this team prepare for a tough back to back with Boston. If the Isles pick up 5-6 points it would put them in a great spot going down the final stretch.