Islanders Puck Talk – Weekly Review
The New York Islanders had a decent week, going 3-2 and solidifying themselves at the top of the Metropolitan Division. The Isles had essentially two playoff games against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Candiens, and they passed both tests. They have more coming up, the first being a tough game at home against the Boston Bruins. Let’s take a look at the past week;
Philadelphia Flyers @ New York Islanders – March 9th, 2019
Score – 5-2 Flyers
Team Grade – C-
Player of the game – Scott Mayfield
The Islanders had another clunker against the Philadelphia Flyers, this time in Philly. It was to no fault of Thomas Greiss, but the Isles just didn’t have their mojo going. Scott Mayfield gave the Islanders an early lead in the first but five straight goals by the Flyers in the first and second to seal the game.
Nick Leddy scored a late goal in the third to cut the deficit to 5-2 but the game was well over by that point. It was one of the few games that the Islanders didn’t show up for, and it’s a curious yet concerning fact that most of their blowout losses in recent memory have come against the Flyers.
Columbus Blue Jackets @ New York Islanders – March 11th, 2019
Score – 2-0 Islanders
Team Grade – A-
Player of the game – Ryan Pulock
The Islanders had their first real test of the home stretch, a game against a team chasing them in the playoff race. The Islanders up to this point had been meandering, but this win showed what this team is made of. Ryan Pulock started the scoring off with a rocket one timer in the first period.
The Isles clamped down on the talented Jackets team, giving them essentially nothing all game. Cam Atkinson hit a few posts and the Isles had a couple of fortuitous bounces but if you play that well you deserve to win the game. Anders Lee sealed the game with an empty net goal in the third after an excellent effort and pass from Val Filppula in the neutral zone.
Montreal Canadiens @ New York Islanders – March 14th, 2019
Score – 2-1 Islanders
Team Grade – A-
Player of the game – Anders Lee/Mathew Barzal
The New York Islanders came back to the Coliseum just a few days later for what was another playoff game, this time against the Montreal Canadiens. With Carey Price at the helm, the Isles and Habs both had a tough time producing offense. Adam Pelech scored a quick goal in the second period off a skate deflection to put the Isles up 1-0. Montreal scored on a point shot with just under two minutes to go to tie it up.
The third period was back and forth, but my words don’t do the GWG justice. Take a look for yourself;
Mathew Barzal is heating up at just the right time, and this kind of play is what separates him from a lot of other young forwards in the game. It was a huge win for the team at the right time.
New York Islanders @ Detroit Red Wings – March 16th, 2019
Score – 2-1 Red Wings
Team Grade – B+
Player of the game – Devon Toews
The New York Islanders played a fantastic game on Saturday afternoon against the Detroit Red Wings but they just didn’t get the results. Andreas Athanasiou scored early in the first off a bad deflection off Ryan Pulock’s shin pad. Anders Lee tied the game up just after an Islanders PP.
The Islanders kept pushing and pushing but they couldn’t get anything past Jonathan Bernier. Whether it be a fantastic save, a crossbar (thanks to Ryan Pulock) or a last second desperation poke by Devon Toews that went through the crease and out, they couldn’t get the win. Athanasiou scored in the second and that was the game winning goal. It was a bad fate for such a good effort, but the Islanders would be repaid by the Islanders the next night.
New York Islanders @ Minnesota Wild – March 17th, 2019
Score – 3-2 Islanders (OT)
Team Grade – B-
Player of the game – Mathew Barzal
The New York Islanders had no business winning this game, but they did and they did so in impressive fashion. Jordan Eberle scored the lone goal of the first period. The Islanders took six penalties in this game, a season high, to Minnesota’s one. There were more than a few calls that should have been granted to the Isles, but they kept pushing.
Zach Parise delivered on one of those PP chances to tie the game up. Anders Lee deflected a great shot from Devon Toews up and over Alex Stalock to take the lead back in the second. It was the Islanders’ first PP goal since 02/21 against Edmonton.
The Isles PK woes haunted them again, as Jared Spurgeon tied the game up midway through the third. The two teams battled hard and quite honestly Minnesota had the edge in nearly every facet of the game, including a 34-20 shot advantage. However, in overtime we once again saw the magic of Mathew Barzal. After a good pass in the slot from Brock Nelson, Barzal danced around Ryan Suter and fed a wide open Nelson in the slot for an overtime winner. Nelson made no mistake and it was the second time in a week that Barzal made spectacular GWG passes.
The New York Islanders are shaping up to be a playoff team. They are currently tied for first in the Metro Division with the Washington Capitals and have a ten point lead on the Montreal Canadiens, who are currently on the outside looking in. They got back to playing the Islander brand of hockey and the analytics back that up. As long as they can keep pace with the Caps, it’s going to be a race to the finish at the top of the Metro. Buckle up folks, it’s going to be a wild three weeks.
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