The Islanders blow a two-goal lead, but get the overtime win to remain in first place.
They’d look to bounce back on Sunday against them to give Ilya Sorokin his eighth-straight win at home. Speaking of whom, Sorokin would be facing his long-time friend and countryman, Igor Shesterkin, for the first of what should be many matchups.
This would certainly be an important and exciting day in their careers and lives.
The good news in this one? Oliver Wahlstrom would return to the lineup for the first time since April 6th, meaning there would be some changes to the lineup:
• Travis Zajac joins Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle
• Wahlstrom back to the third line
• Sorokin in net
1st period: Welcome (back) to the island, Palms
A power play goal? By the newcomer, Palmieri, no less?
The Islanders were in complete control for the vast majority of the first period and that allowed them to come out of the opening 20 minutes with a big 2-0 lead.
The Islanders were interested in acquiring Palmieri for several reasons, the power play being one of them. He showed them why on the first power play of the game for his first point as a member of the Islanders.
If Palmieri can produce regularly on the man-advantage and get the team going in that regard again, this team will become even more well-rounded.
It’s become almost guaranteed that Mathew Barzal shooting down open ice results in an Islanders goal. That’s what happened late in the first and his elite zone entry resulted in a goal by Jean-Gabriel Pageau to cushion the lead.
The Islanders outshot the Rangers an impressive 17-8 in the first. They looked much better in this one than they did on Friday, but the task ahead would be challenging.
The Islanders are famously not very good in the second period and wouldn’t want a repeat of their last game.
2nd period: Not again…
Another day, another disastrous second period for the Islanders. They were outshot 10-6 and an early penalty didn’t allow them to maintain momentum, even though they killed it off successfully.
The fact that they’d head into the third tied, however, was an improvement. They’d look to have a bounce-back period and come away with two points.
3rd period: At least a point is good?
The third period wasn’t particularly good or bad for the Islanders. They played a more even game, but didn’t do enough to take back the lead. They committed two more penalties this period and were lucky that the Rangers don’t have a strong power play.
They’d have the chance to make their reward two points in overtime and might even hope for a shootout, where they’re an impressive 4-1 this season.
Ryan Pulock finally got his first goal of the season, and it came at the best possible time. The Islanders looked strong in overtime and deserved the win that they got.
They forced a turnover along the boards and turned it into a huge goal for Pulock, who was beaming from ear to ear after scoring.
With this win, the Islanders are still one of the best teams in the league at home and Sorokin continues to make history. He remains undefeated at home and is now sixth all-time in longest home win-streaks by a rookie goaltender with eight.
Key Moment: We have a winner
The key moment of the game for the Islanders was the overtime goal. It made the fact that they blew an early 2-0 lead more palatable and gave them yet another win, especially another at home. It was also Pulock’s first goal of the season.
Pulock is the Islanders’ best defenseman and is having the best season of his career, but had been snakebitten up until this moment. Could this goal ignite him and unleash yet another weapon for the Islanders?
Player of the game: Mathew Barzal
The Islanders’ best player is their player of the game once again. The only player on the ice with a multi-point game, neither the first nor the game-winning overtime goal happen without Barzal and his elite playmaking skills.
The Islanders will almost always win when Barzal plays at this level.
His numbers: 16:18 TOI, 2 A, 65.38 CF%, 0.12 iXG, 0.78 xGF, 0.32 xGA, 0.99 GF, 0 GA, 2.35 Game Score, 0.61 defensive rating, 0.42 offensive rating, and 1.32 individual rating.
Stats are courtesy of Hockey Stat Cards and Natural Stat Trick.