New York Islanders players took exception to a couple of dirty plays from the Avalanche and retaliated through scoring instead of penalty minutes.
- New York Islanders 4 (Jordan Eberle, Johnny Boychuk, Anders Lee, Valtteri Filppula)
- Colorado Avalanche 1 (Gabriel Landeskog)
- NHL, Final, Box Score
- Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
It was a night of firsts for the Islanders as they picked up a win in Denver for the first time since January 10, 2014.
Jordan Eberle got the scoring started for the Islanders, snapping a 10-game goal-less streak moments after the team’s first power play had expired.
Johnny Boychuk added to the Isles lead with the Islanders first powerplay goal of the evening and their first against any team aside from the Detroit Red Wings since Nov. 15.
After Gabriel Landeskog’s powerplay tally pulled the Avs to within one, the entire game blew wide open.
It began with a miscue from defenseman Thomas Hickey, who slid into the boards awkwardly and took a nasty shot to the head. Hickey did not return to the game and was later ruled to have sustained an upper-body injury.
— IslesBlog (@IslesBlog) December 18, 2018
The biggest shift came when Josh Ho-Sang was charged with two separate minor penalties during the same shift, forcing the Islanders into a four-minute kill and a deciding moment in the outcome of the game with the score at 2-1.
After allowing the first powerplay goal and at least one in each of their last three games, the PK completely shut the door, four straight times to one of the best lines in the NHL and its leading scorer, Mikko Rantanen.
Rantanen’s 14-game point streak was snapped tonight by the Islanders.
Later on, as if to add insult to injury, Ian Cole’s knee-on-knee hit to Brock Nelson had shades of Matt Cooke no Islander fan wants to revisit.
Straight up cheap garbage from Ian Cole, plays like this make you wish Ross Johnston was in for Komarov tonight pic.twitter.com/qG150fgMj9
— Jimmer Bellows (@TwoTurtleDuffs) December 18, 2018
Entering the third period without the services of Thomas Hickey or Brock Nelson, the Isles allowed just six shots to the Colorado Avalanche while adding an empty-net goal of their own to cap off their best team effort all year.
When looking at the scoresheet, there are several areas that pop out and that’s because the Islanders found success in areas they have consistently struggled with all season.
For starters, the Isles won 52 percent of the faceoffs over the Avs while generating 10 fewer shots on goal (31-21), a big reason they were able to hold off the NHL’s fourth-best offense. In addition to an 80 percent PK on the night, the Isles finally scored multiple powerplay goals in a game for the first time in 33 days.
Rather than duck under and play the victim, the Islanders have shifted gears this season and use adversity to push each other a little harder. Without the services of, arguably, the best players in their respective departments, the Isles not only succeeded but pushed their limits in their play.
As things continue to click with Barry Trotz and his players, so too will the Isles confidence and ability to perform in the system Trotz envisions. With three games in the next four days and the wily Coyotes up on Tuesday night, a win is exactly how the Islanders needed to start this road trip.
Literally *chef's kiss*! ?? pic.twitter.com/ulDsLmcWD3
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) December 18, 2018
The Islanders faceoff against the Coyotes Tuesday night at 9 p.m.