Islanders Puck Talk – Weekly Review
Not much doing this past week for the New York Islanders. There were three games in a seven day period, which is less than usual. Another good week for the Islanders, although they really need to tighten up defensively. The end of November ended the way it started, with a win, but the start of December wasn’t nearly as good.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 – vs Vancouver Canucks
The Islanders ended the month with a bang, & their fourth straight win. Andrew Ladd in the first period delivered with a SHG on a breakaway. The Islanders gave it right back to Vancouver on a wide open tap in by Thomas Vanek in front on the ensuing PP. Calvin de Haan sent a knuckler through old friend Anders Nilsson. Jordan Eberle added a beauty to make it 3-1 at the end of the 1st.
The Islanders came out firing in the second as Anders Lee had an unassisted goal up front. Bo Horvat made it a 4-2 game on yet ANOTHER SHG. The period ends with the Islanders firing from all over the place.
The third period was more of a defensive battle, but John Tavares put the game away with a late third period goal. Jaroslav Halak looked great once again, & the Islanders picked up yet another win against a Western Conference opponent at home. Big win.
Islanders 5, Canucks 2
Friday, December 1, 2017 – vs Ottawa Senators
Well, where to start with this game. I saw this one live, so I missed the first two goals, but from what I’ve heard they were not good goals. Thomas Greiss had himself an interesting night. Ryan Dzingel & Zack Smith scored first for the bad guys to put Ottawa up 2-0 early. HOWEVER, as soon as I sat down (thanks LIRR) Anthony Beauvillier & Anders Lee (PPG) to tie the game up. Bobby Ryan ends the first period with a goal to put Ottawa up 3-2, & all defense was thrown out the window.
Anders Lee starts the second period with a big goal to tie the game up at three. Andrew Ladd gives the Isles a 4-3 lead immediately after, & Craig Anderson gets pulled from the Ottawa net. Thomas Chabot ties the game up AGAIN for the Sens, & like I said before there really was not much defense or goaltending in this game. And after starting the season off with ZERO goals, Jason Chimera finally got his first on a broken play & breakaway. You could only imagine what kind of monkey that took off of his back. Unfortunately, the Islanders gave it right back on the PP when Mike Hoffman scored after a terrible clear by Jaro. Jaro needs to stop playing the puck off the boards. Just stop.
Ryan Dzingel opened up the third period with a quick goal to put Ottawa up 6-5. I forgot to mention that Thomas Greiss also was pulled after the fourth goal, but you probably already knew that. What an awful performance by both goaltenders on Friday. Either way, the Islanders looked listless for most of the period, but had a big rush at the end of the game where Jordan Eberle JUST missed on a semi-open net, & Mike Condon was able to get his arm out to seal the game for the Senators.
It was the first regulation loss at home all season, & this one really stung because they had plenty of opportunities to put the game away, or you know not give up six goals to a team that hadn’t won in a week. The Islanders still came away with a win on their home trip, but they could have come up with at least three points before they went off on a very important road trip.
Senators 6, Islanders 5
Monday, December 4, 2017 – @ Florida Panthers
What a roller coaster of emotions in this one. Another back & forth game, only with this one going the Islanders’ way. Keith Yandle started the game off with a seeing eye goal after an Islanders turnover. Anders Lee tied it up late in the period with one right through Roberto Luongo’s leg.
Luongo left the game early in the second period with an apparent serious lower body injury. Thomas Hickey took advantage of the cold James Reimer as he sent home a bouncer past him. Aaron Ekblad took advantage of a terrible penalty on Cal Clutterbuck to tie it at 2. Cal Clutterbuck then got a ten minute misconduct for yelling at the refs & Alexsander Barkov put one home right after the 5-on-3 ended to make it 3-2. Josh Ho-Sang continued his tear with a beautiful feed to Brock Nelson, who slipped one through Reimer’s legs. John Tavares repeated a few minutes later when he took an errant puck & slid it through to make it 4-3.
Unfortunately, the Islanders failed to hold a third period lead once again as rookie Denis Malgin tied it up at four when Mat Barzal fell asleep in the defensive zone. There were plenty of opportunities to score in the third, but the game decidedly went to overtime after a back & forth.
The overtime period was exciting to say the least, as Mat Barzal just missed his second open net of the game. James Reimer was spectacular & kept the Panthers in the game which eventually went to a shootout.
Zero goals through four shooters & all of a sudden Mat Barzal could be the hero of the game. Redemption was served, as Barzal made a nifty Frans Nieslen-esque move to put one past James Reimer. Halak stood strong on Jonathan Huberdeau & the Isles steal a second point from the Panthers, 5-4. It wasn’t the prettiest game, but a win nonetheless.
Islanders 5, Panthers 4
Anders Lee has quietly become an offensive juggernaut, scoring his 100th goal against the Panthers & solidifying himself as one of the league’s best power forwards. He has five goals in the last four games, & 16 goals overall this season. He’s more than halfway to 30 goals once again, with no signs of slowing down.
Defense, Goaltending, Anything That Isn’t Offense
The defense has been horrendous this past week. Although the Islanders only gave up two goals against Vancouver, they had a major defensive lapse on the penalty kill & have looked lost at times. Halak has played well considering the amount of shots he’s faced, but still has given up a few soft goals.
The penalty kill gave up two goals against Florida as well, & Mat Barzal was caught looking against the Panthers for a wide open goal in the slot. Thomas Greiss was terrible against the Senators, letting in a few soft ones himself. As much as I feel this team is never out of it, I also feel that the Islanders have a susceptibility of being a little loose in their own zone & giving up goals way too easily. Hopefully this will change.
The Islanders head to Tampa tomorrow & hopefully we get some more good play from the team. You can’t expect to win every game 5-4, & the Islanders need to learn to play with the lead. They’re a great team, but the defense may become an Achilles heel come this upcoming road trip. Catch all your Islanders coverage here at DoubleGSports & @SupRos22. I will be covering the Belmont Town Hall at Elmont High School on Sunday @ 4 PM. Make sure to say hello if you’re making the trip!