Islanders Puck Talk – Weekly Review
Well ladies and gents, the Islanders Puck Talk Weekly Review has returned. What an interesting week in Islanders hockey, and we have a lot to dig into. I hope you enjoyed my state of the union on the Islanders season so far. I like breaking away from the weekly content to give you guys a more opinionated piece on the Islanders.
Saturday, January 13, 2018 – @ New York Rangers
The Islanders started their week back from their bye with a Saturday matinee against the Rangers. It’s always tough sledding against their cross-town rivals, but this game was especially important because of the playoff implications. The scoring was started by Anthony Beauvillier off a beautiful pass by Jordan Eberle. Kevin Hayes answered later in the first, but Shane Prince gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead going into the second with a breakaway goal towards the end of the period. Not for nothing, but this Beau-Barzal-Eberle line has been electric the past few games. Andrew Ladd must not be happy.
Barzal continued his domination of the league as a rookie with a quick goal to start off the second period. He added another just 3 1/2 minutes later to make it a 4-1 game. Barzal has been not only one of the best rookies, but one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NHL this year. Anthony Beauvillier later added a goal in the second to start the rout, after a nice feed by John Tavares.
Beauvillier has looked like a completely different player since coming back up from Bridgeport. He and Barzal have been flying down the ice, backing defensemen from all teams up and creating lots of space. Even when they didn’t score in the third period, they were dominating the game.
Mike Zibanejad tried to mount a comeback for the Rangers with a goal halfway through the third, but by the time the Rangers got anything going, the game was long over. Thomas Hickey added a fluke goal off a defensemen to make it 6-2, and Cal Clutterbuck ended the blowout with a snipe from the slot. Clutterbuck has maybe the best wrist shot on the team. It was an overall great win for a team that desperately needed one, especially against their most hated rival.
Islanders 7, Rangers 2
Monday, January 15, 2018 – @ Montreal Canadiens
The Islanders have of recently had a very tough time against a normally good Montreal team. This was no exception, as it was a tight game even when the Islanders had a two goal lead. Montreal native Anthony Beauvillier started yet another game with a goal, this time only a minute and a half into the contest. His linemate Mat Barzal joined in on the action with a goal of his own in the first. Unfortunately, the Islanders were under siege almost the entire game, and gave two quick ones right back to Montreal, one to Nick Deslauriers and one to Paul Byron.
Adam Pelech received a lucky bounce off a blocked Mat Barzal shot for his first of the year, and John Tavares added a SHG on a breakaway to give the Islanders another two goal lead. Once again, the Islanders couldn’t get out of their own way, constantly playing in their own zone and eventually giving a late second period goal away to Jonathan Drouin.
After an exhausting four minutes of killing penalties back to back, the Islanders eventually gave up a PPG to Max Pacioretty to tie it up at 4. The Islanders were tired, and extremely lucky to have only given up one goal to the Habs in the third. They should have lost this game 7-4, but they somehow made it to overtime.
Overtime started and noted overtime hero Thomas Hickey made an immediate impact, throwing a pass off Carey Price’s pads onto John Tavares’ stick. Tavares didn’t make a mistake, stuffing home a rebound and sending the Islanders home with a 5-4 overtime win. Thomas Greiss was EXCELLENT, making 52 saves along the way. He is single-handedly the reason why the Isles were even competitive on Monday. Hopefully this gets him off the snide and back on track.
Islanders 5, Canadiens 4 (OT)
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 – vs New Jersey Devils
You knew that this was going to be a tough game for the Islanders, especially on a back-to-back after just flying in from Montreal. Anders Lee got on the board early with a breakaway, but the Islanders looked lifeless for almost the entire game, and for once I don’t blame them. Kyle Palmieri tied it up late to make it a 1-1 game.
The wheels fell off in the second period, with goals in the middle frame by Damon Severson twice and Taylor Hall. It really bothers me that even when the Islanders are in tight games, they seem to lose their focus for a few minutes and all of a sudden they’re down a couple of goals.
There wasn’t much to the third period minus more players getting hurt, this time Shane Prince, and a whole lot of great defensive play by the Devils. The Islanders never really had a chance considering they were down three goals and New Jersey stifled every opportunity they had. It was one of those games you just have to accept and move on from.
Devils 4, Islanders 1
There are two Islanders I would like to point out in this week’s high tide. Thomas Greiss and Anthony Beauvillier may have turned a corner in their quest to find some consistency in this long season. Greiss made 52 of 56 saves in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens, and looked more comfortable than I’ve seen him all season. Beauvillier looks to be a natural compliment to Mathew Barzal’s razzle-dazzle style, and he’s had a nose for the net. He’s scored three goals in three games and looks to be a completely different player since coming back up from Bridgeport.
Injuries have really started to pile up for the Islanders. Guys like Tanner Fritz and Michael Dal Colle are getting shots to stay with the big club, which is great, but it also means that many key guys are still hurt. Scott Mayfield was hurt in the game against the Habs. Andrew Ladd has been fighting an injury for a while, Casey Cizikas is just starting to skate normally, and Josh Bailey is finally getting back to normal. In addition, we’ve finally seen some progress from Johnny Boychuk, who is a huge missing piece of the defense. Hopefully the injury bug is done biting and the Islanders can get at least a bit healthier before their playoff stretch run towards the end of the season.
Make sure to follow me @SupRos22 and all sports related things @DoubleGSports on both Twitter and Instagram. I will be covering the Minnesota-Michigan State hockey game as part of the Big Ten Super Saturday on Saturday night at MSG. Make sure to say hello.
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