NYI VS. BUF - 2/23/21
The Islanders again start their week off right with a 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres. Curtis Lazar would get the first goal of the game for buffalo with three minutes and 45 seconds to go in the first period as he deflected a shot from Henri Jokiharju past Semyon Varlamov as the Sabres would exit the first with the 1-0 lead. The Islanders did not start off hot in the game as they looked like they were playing well but, they did not have the shots or hits advantage over the Buffalo Sabres through the first period. Then towards the beginning of the second period of play the he Islanders look to have turned their game around as Anders Lee would score his team-leading eighth goal of the year as he found the puck wide open in the slot and pulled it to his right and went over the pad Linus Ullmark. Just over three minutes into the third period, Matt Martin would get the Islanders their first lead of the game on a shot over the right shoulder of Linus Ullmark, making the game 2-1 New York a lead that they would hold for a quick three minutes as Sam Reinhart would net his sixth of the campaign tying the score for Buffalo with just around 14 minutes to play in the third frame. Then with just under five minutes to go in the third Jean-Gabriel Pageau would net his seventh of the year off a one-timer from Oliver Wahlstrom as he picked up his third point of the season so far, the goal was also assisted by Nick Leddy his 9th thus far. The Pageau goal would stand up as the game-winning goal as the Islanders defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 and a thrilling matchup from the Nassau Coliseum.
NYI VS. BOS - 2/25/21
Where do I even start with this one, the Boston Bruins would score early on on a goal by Nick Ritchie, his seventh of the year just a minute into the first period of play. Just 2 minutes and 14 seconds later Adam Pelech would pinch down the left side and tap home a failed clearing attempt in front of the Boston net, the goal went down as unassisted as a Boston player touched the puck last before Pelech put it home. Later on in the first frame Mathew Barzal received a gorgeous pass from Nick Leddy who was under pressure and, he would go in on a two-on-one with Jordan Eberle and snipe one over the right shoulder of Boston goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who was making his return to Nassau Coliseum for the first time since Game 6 of the 2015 playoffs against the Washington Capitals. The Islanders would hang on to a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period of play. Then in the second, Craig Smith would score probably one of the luckiest goals of his career as he tried to center the puck across and it was deflected off the stick of Matt Martin and went in awkwardly over-the-shoulder of Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov. The score would hold at 2 a piece for the remainder of the second period, leading us to a win a period win a game situation. At the start of the 3rd. The Islanders found out Cal Clutterbuck would not be returning to the game, the extent or details of the injury have not been released yet by either the team or any credible sources as of 11 p.m. on the 25th, more updates will come on Clutterbuck’s status as they are released by the team. Just five minutes and 41 seconds into the third period, Anthony Beauvillier would steal the puck away in front of the Boston net and tap home his first goal of the season giving the Islanders a 3-2 lead with just 15 minutes to play. Then the floodgates opened, Jordan Eberle and Jean-Gabriel Pageau would each score their 8th goals of this campaign giving the Islanders a 5-2 lead, Pageau’s goal would come while shorthanded as he walked in on a breakaway topping out at a speed of 23 miles per hour as he ripped a wrist shot over the shoulder of Jaroslav Halak. Anders Lee would have had his team leading 9th assisted by Dobson and Leddy as the Captain continues his hot start, and rookie Oliver Wahlstrom would bury his second of the year assisted by Pulock and Cizikas. The first star of the game was Anders Lee with the second star going to Mat Barzal and the third star to goaltender Semyon Varlamov. The Islanders would take a 7-2 statement against Boston in their biggest offensive outburst of this season and their biggest margin of victory thus far!
NYI VS. PIT - 2/27/21
The theme of this game was pure disappointment, the Islanders had a few opportunities to put this game to bed but they did not. The Islanders would open the scoring late in the first as Brock Nelson would net his 4th power play goal of the year (his 6th overall). The assist came from Oliver Wahlstrom who seems to be developing his play even more. Oliver Wahlstrom has really been finding his touch lately and he will be a valuable asset going down the stretch. The other assist would come from Nick Leddy, his team leading 12th assist of the season. Just 1:34 into the second Mathew Barzal would score his 8th of the year as he snuck a wrist shot from a tough angle past Tristan Jarry. Then Oliver Wahlstrom would head to the penalty box and the Penguins power play would take the ice. All I can say is this was an extremely avoidable yet unlucky goal as Semyon Varlamov would catch his skate in the ice and fall down allowing Sidney Crosby to take an easy shot on goal that would go in making the game 2-1. Just 26 seconds later the Penguins would come down and score again making the game 2-2 when just 26 seconds ago New York had a 2-0 lead. The Pittsburgh goal would come from Kris Letang his 3rd of the year all coming against the New York Islanders. The Islanders would never recover from that point on and Pittsburgh would mostly control the rest of the game except for a few pushes by New York, in the midsts of one of those pushes from the Islanders Josh Bailey would score his 2nd goal of the year giving New York the 3-2 lead with 5 minutes to play in the second. The assists came from Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson their 3rd and 4th assists of the season respectively. 18 Seconds into the third, disaster would strike for New York as Jared McCann would tie the game at 3, the assist would come from Evgeni Malkin. The game would stay tied through the rest of regulation time as both teams would pick up a point. Overtime featured a few opportunities for both sides until a shot by Kris Letang would sneak by a screened Semyon Varlamov giving Pittsburgh the 4-3 win as Kris Letang continues to torch the New York Islanders scoring his 4th of the year with all 4 coming against the Islanders. Pittsburgh would also move to just 1 point behind New York setting us up for an incredibly important game Sunday night with huge playoff implications
NYI VS. PIT - 2/28/21
The Islanders end their week and their month of February off with a bang by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins by a final score of 2-0. Oliver Wahlstrom would get the Islanders started with an absolute rocket up into the toy department. The goal was the 3rd of the year for Wahlstrom who has really established himself and taken his game to the next level over the last few games. The assist on the power play goal came from Leddy, his team leading 13th and Josh Bailey his 9th. The score would remain the same for the last 40 seconds of the first period as the Isles would take the 1-0 lead into the 1st intermission. The first 15 minutes would go largely uneventful until the Penguins’ Jake Guentzel would head off for tripping, sending the Islanders power play back to work. Just around 1 minute into the power play Jean-Gabriel Pageau would net his 9th goal of the season tying him with Anders Lee for the team lead. From there on out it was the Ilya Sorokin show as he would stop all 20 he faced on the road to his 2nd career win and 2nd career shutout. Sorokin is the first Islanders goaltender since 1986 to notch a shutout in their first 2 career wins!
THIS WEEK SUMMED UP:
Overall this week was a tremendous success for New York as they picked up 3 wins in 4 games with an overtime loss to Pittsburgh mixed in. They picked up 7 points in the standings and now sit in 3rd place in the East Division, they now have 26 points on the season with a record of (11-6-4). The player of the week this week is Oliver Wahlstrom as he scored 2 goals and had 3 assists on the week with a total of 5 points. Wahlstrom also was far and away the best player on the Islanders power play!
THE WEEK AHEAD:
The Islanders face a very winnable week ahead as they look to stay hot and rack up the points. This week will feature a quick trip to play the New Jersey Devils at 7:00 PM this coming Tuesday, then 3 straight games at the Nassau Coliseum against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday the 4th at 7:00 PM, Saturday the 6th at 1:00 PM, and Sunday the 7th at 12:00 PM. All four of these games are going on must win games as New York tries to build some space between them and the #5 seeded team. Overall if the Islanders can come away with 6-7 points this week that would be huge for them in the standings.