Islanders get the OT win as Palmieri and Zajac make their debuts.
The New York Islanders (and New Jersey Devils) were in the news on Wednesday after engaging in a blockbuster trade.
Veteran forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac were sent to the Islanders in exchange for forwards A.J. Greer and Mason Jobst, a first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.
The Islanders had emerged as one of the favorites to acquire Palmieri, but the inclusion of Zajac in the deal came as a surprise.
Palmieri, who plays the same position as and has a similar skill set to Anders Lee, will fill a hole and Zajac will be a nice veteran presence and will contribute to a team that is looking to go all the way.
Both newcomers made their Islanders’ debuts on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
• Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac on Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s wings on third line
• Ilya Sorokin in net
1st period: Hot and then…
The Islanders got off to a hot start to the game that included two goals in a span of 1:03. A beautiful play by Ryan Pulock, who was patient and smart with the puck, allowed Brock Nelson to put the Islanders up 1-0.
The next goal began with a Mathew Barzal poke check on Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov in Philadelphia’s zone that didn’t seem like much.
He ended up forcing a turnover and Leo Komarov received the puck to make a great heads-up play to Jordan Eberle in front of the net.
The tide turned when Casey Cizikas found himself on the receiving end of a rough hit by Samuel Morin. Cizikas went to the locker room and the Flyers were assessed a five-minute major while Morin was issued a game misconduct.
These five minutes were disappointing for the Islanders, however, and the Flyers were even able to dominate offensively to end New York’s power play. The good news was that Cizikas did return about 11 minutes into the period.
We began to learn more about the role that the Islanders want Palmieri to play: he was on the top unit to start the five-minute power play.
Sorokin, who’s been pretty great against the Flyers in his rookie season, allowed a bad goal with about six minutes left. He saved a shot with his blocker and attempted to punch the puck out, but it ended up bouncing off his stick into the goal.
The Islanders lost focus and didn’t look nearly as good in the second half of the period.
Watching them struggle for five minutes against the second-worst penalty killing unit in the league wasn’t exactly encouraging and the Islanders would need to take a page out of the book of the first-half of the period heading into the second.
2nd period: Come on
The Islanders couldn’t get their momentum back heading into the second and conceded an early goal that tied the game, as a result. They were falling victim to multiple odd-man rushes, something that is uncharacteristic of such a strong team.
The Islanders were given the opportunity to make up for the dreadful five-minute man-advantage with a power play late in the second. Unfortunately, this didn’t go well for the Islanders, who ended up committing a penalty themselves.
They were outshot in the second and still weren’t able to get their momentum back, but the good news is that they’re one of the best third period teams in the league. They’d need to be just that in order to get the regulation-time win.
3rd period: Another rough one
The third period didn’t go any better for the Islanders, who were outshot 10-5. They had some chances, especially late, but couldn’t do enough to take the lead.
The good news was that they were able to prevent the Flyers from adding to their goal total, as well.
To overtime we go.
Overtime: Power play is not a friend
The Islanders were awarded a power play in overtime, but couldn’t score. They had several issues this game, and not scoring on power plays was at the top of the list.
The power play has been one of the team’s most glaring weaknesses throughout the season. That was on full display in this game and in overtime, especially.
Sorokin came into this game 2-0 in shootouts and looked to remain undefeated. That he did. Sorokin put on a show in the shootout and deserved to emerge victorious, making up for his big mistake in the first period.
Nelson scored the only goal of the shootout to give his goalie the win. Sorokin is still undefeated at home in his rookie campaign. The Islanders played a sloppy game, but a win is a win and two points are two points.
Key Moment: 5-minute major
The key moment of the game was the five-minute major committed by the Flyers. The Islanders looked bad on the man-advantage and ended up conceding two unanswered goals.
This power play, for whatever reason, completely killed their momentum, something they couldn’t get back. The Islanders did go on to win this one, but they can’t let what happened this game to happen often.
Player of the game: Ryan Pulock
Ryan Pulock is, once again, the Islanders’ player of the game. He showed off his strengths as one of the best offensive-defensemen in the league in this game, which could have ended in a regulation loss without him.
Pulock’s numbers: 23:33 TOI, 1 A, 51.52 CF%, 0.07 iXG, 1 block, 0.44 xGF, 0.54 xGA, 0.94 GF, 0 GA, 1.34 Game Score, -0.25 offensive rating, 0.64 defensive rating, and 0.79 individual rating.
Stats are courtesy of Hockey Stat Cards and Natural Stat Trick.