Islanders Puck Talk – Weekly Review
Before I start with my review I would first like to introduce myself to the audience. My name’s Chris Passarelli & I am the new lead Islanders writer for Double G Sports. I grew up as an Islander fan & am extremely excited to be able to cover the team with Double G Sports. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity & I’m ready to start up this potentially special Islanders season with you!
Now that we have that out of the way, what a week it has been for the Islanders. We had some games, some more Belmont talk, & overall the team looks much better than it did just a few weeks ago. Granted, it’s still super early so everyone’s getting their ice legs under them, but even with a loss to the Washington Capitals, it’s been a good week. Let’s dig a little deeper into these games.
Saturday, October 28th 2017 – @ Nashville Predators
The first game of this week (weeks start on Sundays, folks) was a clash with the Western Conference champ Nashville Predators. The Preds have been a little underwhelming this season (6-5-2) but heading on the road to a raucous atmosphere was a tall task for the Islanders.
Luckily, after an 0-20 start to the season, the Islanders PP came alive. Jordan Eberle, much-maligned Ryan Pulock & John Tavares each tallied a power-play goal, with Tavares scoring a natural hat trick in the third period. The defense looked solid, keeping Nashville’s speed & skill to the outside while also killing off key penalties.
Tavares single-handedly put the game away in the third for the Islanders with his natural hat trick, & unlike some Islander games, there was no denying that they were going to hold this lead. Jaroslav Halak saved 21 of 22 shots & seemed to solidify himself as the “guy” to backstop the Islanders, at least for now. It was a big road win for the Islanders & a sigh of relief after the disaster in Minnesota.
Islanders 6 , Predators 2
Monday, October 30th 2017 – vs Vegas Golden Knights
The hot expansion Vegas Knights visited the Islanders on Monday, looking to start 9-1 & become the first expansion team in NHL history to start off a season 9-1. Things looked bleak when William Karlsson caught Anthony Beauvillier sleeping on the PP & snuck in behind him for a shorthanded goal. It looked as though the Islander’s PP woes would continue.
Andrew Ladd sniped one to tie the game up at 1 in the first, but Alex Tuch capitalized on a Vegas PP to put the Knights up 2-1. The rest of the game was ALL Islanders, as John Tavares & Matthew Barzal scored in the second period. They dominated the second with their cycling & speed, outworking an extremely hardworking Vegas team.
Things got a little weird when Vegas had to turn to their fourth string goaltender, Maxime Lagace, as Oskar Dansk looked to have pulled his groin following the Barzal PPG. Lagace looked okay, but the Golden Knights hung him out to dry in the third. Cal Clutterbuck, Nikolai Kulemin, & John Tavares all had breakaway goals against Lagace to seal the game.
The PP was once again strong, scoring two goals, & the Islanders breakout game was incredible, scoring three goals & nearly capitalizing on, with Anthony Beauvillier just missing his breakaway chance in the third. It was a good win against an extremely well-coached & diligent Vegas team. Taking out a team that hot is never easy.
Islanders 6, Golden Knights 3
Thursday, November 2nd 2017 – @ Washington Capitals
Thursday was an extremely frustrating game for Islanders fans. For a team that lost, they completely outplayed the Capitals throughout the game. The Islanders kept Alex Ovechkin & TJ Oshie at bay, but the Bottom 6 of Washington gave them the edge.
John Tavares continued his HOT scoring streak with his twelveth goal of the season. Anders Lee tied it up TWICE to keep the Islanders in the game, but they kept giving goals back right away. Josh Bailey extended his point streak to eight games as he contributed two more assists.
Lars Eller was persona non-grotta against the Islanders. Scoring two goals & flying all over the ice, he was the X-factor in this game. He had the GWG at 16:39 of the third period to give the Caps the lead, & Braden Hotlby with his 30 saves stonewalled the surging Islanders late in the third period.
Even though the Islanders lost against the Capitals while outplaying them, they still had a successful week. 2-1 against three potential playoff teams isn’t bad, considering they beat the hottest team in the NHL & the defending Western Conference champions. The PP looked much improved, scoring 5 goals, & Matthew Barzal has been extremely impressive so far in his rookie campaign, with 3 goals & 5 assists. Who’s Matt Duchene?
My High Tide of the week is Josh Bailey, who continues to get on the scoring sheet in any and every way possible. With a few helpers this week, he extended his point streak to eight games and has a team leading thirteen assists. He is growing more & more into the player that most thought he would be when the Islanders drafted him back in 2008. I’ve always been a Josh Bailey fan, but he’s slowly starting to win over the fan base finally.
My Low Tide of the week is a theme that’s starting to alarm me: softies. Jaroslav Halak has been solid for the Islanders so far, but he’s given up a few soft goals lately, most notably against the Capitals. In order for the Islanders to compete for the Stanley Cup, they need to be able to ride a goaltender through the playoffs, & if Halak is going to be inconsistent with routine saves, Doug Weight should consider giving Thomas Greiss another look.
Thanks all for reading my first article. If you guys would rather a few breakdowns of each game, I can switch up my format. However, I think a weekly breakdown of the games & a synopsis of where the team is makes things a little more efficient. Let me know what you think, & make sure to follow @DoubleGSports for all Double G Sports coverage, & @SupRos22 for all Islanders coverage.