Does another big win mean the Isles are on a roll?
After suffering a tough loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday, the New York Islanders were able to bounce back in a big way against a fellow titan in the division, the Boston Bruins.
They hoped to build off that win and get on a roll beginning with their first game of the year against the New Jersey Devils.
Devils’ star goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood was added to the COVID-19 protocol before the game, something the Islanders would look to take advantage of, but would they be able to contain the dangerous Jack Hughes?
1st period: Buzzin’ Barzal
Mathew Barzal was the guy to watch for the Islanders in the first period. As MSG broadcaster Brandon Burke said, Barzal was “flying all over the place”.
He let his actions speak for themselves by getting his team on the board first with a wicked shot that got past Devils goalie Scott Wedgewood.
The Islanders completely dominated the Devils this period, and that was evident in the 2-0 result heading to the second. Jordan Eberle was able to get a nice back-handed shot past Wedgewood with just seconds left.
Speaking of Barzal, he notched a secondary assist on Eberle’s goal for his second point of the night.
Anders Lee did a great job of controlling the puck and preventing Devils defenseman P.K. Subban from taking it away from him in order to get it to Eberle. If the Islanders can keep up this great play, there’s no way the Devils come back.
2nd period: It was fun while it lasted
Semyon Varlamov‘s record streak for the longest shutout to start a season by an Islanders goalie ended at 142:10, 2:50 into the second period, off the stick of Nathan Bastian. It was a great shot, but one would think Varlamov could’ve saved it.
The start of the period definitely wasn’t ideal for the Islanders, as the Devils were the more dominant team to get things going. It wouldn’t get any easier as Brock Nelson committed a holding penalty with 11:15 left.
However, the Islanders are great on the kill and the Devils have an underwhelming power play, so no harm was done. Josh Bailey did have the chance to put the Islanders up 3-1 with a short-handed goal, but Wedgewood was able to bail his team out.
The misfortune would continue as Lee had a great opportunity to score on a two-on-one, but hit the post.
A similar situation would arise a few minutes later involving Casey Cizikas passing the puck to Matt Martin, who was hooked, and sent his team to the power play.
The Islanders’ power play continues to struggle- they only had one real scoring chance on the man-advantage.
Nelson had an ugly collision with P.K. Subban with 45 seconds left, forcing him to head to the locker room early with blood dripping down his face.
3rd period: It’s an explosion!
The Islanders had a much better start to the third period: a nice shot that bounced off the post and then a power play. This power play went much better for the Islanders, who were able to cushion their lead.
A nice bounce off the boards after a Noah Dobson shot got to Eberle for his second of the night. Barzal’s great night continued as he recorded another point.
Not long after, the Islanders would be sent to the power play once again after the Devils were booked for having too many men on the ice, when they scored their second PP2.
Surely fans couldn’t believe what they were seeing. A nice shot by Nick Leddy that was tipped into the net by Nelson allowed the Islanders to blow the game up.
Note: With two points, Dobson had the first multi-point game of his career. This was another nice win for the Islanders as they hope to get a streak going.
Key Moment: Eberle’s big back-handed finish
The key moment of the game was the goal that put the Islanders up 2-0. Not only was it a great goal, but it basically sealed the deal for the Islanders. No matter how close the Devils came, they were unable to even tie the game.
Player of the game: Mathew Barzal
Eberle did have an impressive two goals, but this was the Barzal show. New York’s best player proved to be just that in this game.
He was involved in all but one of his team’s goals and even when he wasn’t doing/contributing to any scoring, he was noticeable up and down the ice.