Anders Lee added yet another two-goal game to his young career, the second one being the winner as the New York Islanders beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2. It was their third consecutive win, with their last four victories all coming by that same score.
Though Lee pulled into a tie for the rookie goal scoring lead with his 18th, the night was a bigger milestone for Jaroslav Halak: His 30th win of the season, setting a personal high and making him the fourth Islanders goalie to be credited with 30 victories in a season (Billy Smith, Chris Osgood, Rick DiPietro). The franchise record is 32, so he's a smart bet to stake that claim this season.
Colin McDonald, playing in his third game since riding the emergency recall coaster from Bridgeport, didn't score in this one but did get an assist by driving the net to create an easy rebound for Casey Cizikas' first-period goal.
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The Islanders looked like they might walk away with this one when they opened an early 2-0 lead, outshooting the Leafs 18-8 in the first period and scoring at 1:11 when Lee took a gift of a turnover inside the Leafs zone before making a move past Jonathan Bernier.
The Cizikas goal to make it 2-0 came under three minutes later, but that was it for Isles scoring for the next 28 minutes: The Leafs returned the favor on the Isles in the second period, also scoring in the second and fifth minute and getting 10 of the period's first 11 shots on goal.
Lee's winner at 12:02 mitigated the panic all Isles fans were feeling. Josh Bailey deflected a Travis Hamonic shot from the point, giving Lee a rebound that squeaked through Bernier's legs.
Dead Men Walking
For the massive traveling Leafs scapegoat search party, neither Phil Kessel nor David Clarkson featured on the score sheet nor plus/minus sheet. Kessel had three shots on goal, including one particularly dangerous oh-crap-it's-Kessel one streaking down the wing that required a blocker save from Halak.
Kessel " I love Toronto but if it's not here , it's not here. "— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) February 13, 2015
More drama this way comes!
Quote of the Night
MSG's Shannon Hogan spoke with first star Anders Lee:
Q: "Five goals in your last six games, what's been working for you?"
A: "Oh, just playing with Johnny."
The Penguins beat the Senators in a shootout tonight, so they keep pace a point behind the Isles at the top of the Metro. The Islanders essentially play every other night throughout February, continuing Saturday when the Blue Jackets visit. So it's a comforting run to have banked two points against each of the Sabres, Oilers and Leafs this week.
Dragons, and two sets of back-to-backs, await further down the calendar.