After the Islanders came out flat -- Austin Watson scored (or if you prefer, Marek Zidlicky own goaled) just two minutes into the game against some lethargic defense -- the Isles were behind 2-0 by five minutes into the second period. The Isles were sluggish and poor and they know it (see many quotes below).
But then three Isles scored their first goals of the season, while John Tavares scored his who-can-count?-eth of the year to give them what they needed to come out of this mess with two points.
Anders Lee's first answered the 2-0 deficit 40 seconds after it was created, and Kyle Okposo's 4-on-4 goal sent the teams to the second intermission tied. Nikolay Kulemin gave them the lead in the third, while Tavares scored what would eventually be the game winner because he's John Tavares and that is just how things work.
Neither team scored on two power play attempts, and the Isles didn't offer anything close to a full 60-minute showing. But we'll say at least the comeback was impressive in its...timely and satisfying scoring. And goaltending.
Tavares: "We've got to be ready to play from puck-drop, but I like the way we battled back. We just stuck with it."— Michael Willhoft (@MichaelWillhoft) October 16, 2015
Capuano, on the slow start: "It's a long year, you're not going to have you legs every single night."— Michael Willhoft (@MichaelWillhoft) October 16, 2015
Capuano: "For whatever reason – structurally, mentally – we weren't dialed in at the start, but we found a way to get two points."— Michael Willhoft (@MichaelWillhoft) October 16, 2015
Tavares: "Really slow start for us, we have to be more ready to play....So that’s on me and the group to understand that." #Isles— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) October 16, 2015
The Predators, who built a 3-0 start to their season by playing so-so against some weak teams, lost one against a better team they could rightly claim they deserved to beat.
But what's this? An Isles backup goaltender shut the door? Like the sound of that.
First Rejected Challenge: The Islanders did a coach's challenge to see if goalie interference -- Mike Fisher was in the vicinity -- might rule off the Predators goal that brought the score back to within one with under six minutes left in regulation. That challenge was rejected -- believed to be the first rejection in the league under the new rule -- and the Isles lost their timeout.
The hockey gods declared that if the Isles were to survive this one, it would be from their goalie stepping up, not from being bailed out by replay judgment shenanigans.
Forsberg, Two-Way Wow-Erat-Trade-Piece: Filip Forsberg was awesome last year against the Isles, and tonight he scored again as well as hustled to prevent Ryan Strome from icing the game with an empty net goal in the final minute [footage and praise here]. You wonder if that trade for Martin Erat isn't one of the prime reasons George McPhee is now an assistant GM with the Islanders instead of the chief down in D.C.
Greiss-ing the Win: Once again Greiss was impressive, this time in double the workload he faced Monday afternoon. Somehow Okposo was declared the first star instead of Greiss, so I am activating my local Outrage Letter Writers directly.
Whatever, much-needed good showing by the German. It was a low bar to reach, but so far he's already paid off more than all three of the Isles' backup options last season.
Get well fully before coming back, Jaro.
Saturday brings more Western visitors. The hot-starting Sharks and Peter DeBoer are the next team to visit Barclays [ingloriously sponsored] Center for the first time.