The New York Islanders took on the Calgary Flames at Nassau Coliseum with the Flames missing their best player. The game was tightly contested in the scoring though the Islanders controlled play through most of the Isles' 2-1 win.
The game wasn't without controversy as the officials reversed an Isles goal that probably shouldn't have been reversed. The Islanders ultimately prevailed, though it wasn't without some dicey moments even with a two-goal led with under a minute left. Oh, and they pulled ahead of the Rangers for sole possession of first place.
The Islanders had some great o-zone pressure in the first minute before Josh Bailey was checked into the goal by Dennis Wideman. This led to a faceoff in the zone, but the second line of the Flames was able to get it out and the Flames established a little bit of zone presence themselves.
The first great chance of the game came for the Islanders about three minutes into the first. Josh Bailey took a faked a shot and took a shot from the slot where it Calvin de Haan had a nice opportunity off of the rebound, but it hit the side of the net and Karri Ramo was able to recover. John Tavares was called for a spear after the whole ordeal which led to a Flames power play.
The Flames power play couldn't get around the speed of the penalty killers of the Islanders. Michael Grabner and Cal Clutterbuck were all over the place (which may be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view) and Grabner had a good chance going the other way which was stopped by the glove of Ramo. The Flames got it back into the Islanders zone with mere seconds left on the power play, but couldn't convert
Shortly after the first break Matt Martin had a very nice look which was swallowed up by the glove hand of Ramo. Off of the ensuing faceoff the Flames were able to get the puck to a breaking Josh Jooris who really didn't put get the greatest shot off. It was stopped by Halak. The period was halfway over when Sean Monahan tripped Brock Nelson giving the Islanders their first power play of the game.
The Flames cleared it shortly after an islanders faceoff win and the Islanders really didn't get much going for about a minute. They were able to get it into the zone and Ryan Strome was able to chip the puck into the net after some whacking at the puck by Tavares and Nelson. This was the first power play goal against the Flames in 25 chances. Tavares picked up the assist which ties him for the league led in points.
Shortly after the goal Johnny Boychuk completely fanned on a pass and was forced to play catchup with Michael Ferland. The ensuing chase down led to a penatly shot for the Flames rookie. He wasn't able to put the puck home and the Islanders still led one to nothing.
Johnny Gaudreau and TJ Brodie had a chance breaking into the Islanders zone where Brodie blew past Thomas Hickey, but Brodie didn't get a great shot off and Halak was able to turn it away. The Flames had another good chance in the Islanders zone as Brodie had a shot from just outside the slot, but that got turned away as well.
Coming out of the Flames zone Nelson was able to cut through the defense pretty easily. He wasn't able to get a great chance off, but Gaudreau was forced to trip him up giving the Islanders their second power play of the night.
The Islanders started their power play after the commercial break by once again giving the puck away and allowing Calgary to clear in the first fifteen seconds. They got the puck back in the zone, but didn't get anything going as Tavares passed the puck to the wrong colour jersey which led to a Flames clear. They couldn't get the puck back into the zone until a the Flames had already killed off three quarters of the power play and the Flames didn't give up a chance during the remaining time as they killed it off with relative ease.
The Islanders made things dicey in the last minute as Halak was forced to make a nice save off of a faceoff. They got the puck out, time expired and the Islanders led the flames one to nothing as the first intermission hit.
First Period Notes:
- Coming out of the first commercial break the Islanders announcers praised the job of Bob Hartley. They may want to check with some Flames fans on that.
- The Flames were down, but it was hardly a bad period for them. They had a nice breakaway chance and a penalty shot which they ultimately couldn't convert on. Score adjusted Corsi in all scenarios was 18.6 to 18.4 in favour of the Islanders.
- That said, the Islanders could have had a better period at home against a team that's not good at puck possession and is missing their best player.
The first two and a half minutes were relatively tame. That changed as the Nelson intercepted the puck in the Flames zone. The Flames recovered nicely, but Deryk Engelland hit Nelson late as he drew his third penalty of the night.
The power play looked a little bit more controlled this time as they won the faceoff and Leddy got off a quick shot attempt that was blocked. They had more than a few chances but many of them were blocked by the sprawling Kris Russell as the Flames killed off the remaining penalty.
After the penalty was over the Flames were able to get into the zone and Lance Bouma got of an awkward looking but effective chance which Halak had to make a late save on. The Flames second line was buzzing, but they couldn't put one home as Lubomir Visnovsky was able to recover the puck and flicked it just off of the glass and out of play.
Grabner got another breakaway chance, but the Flames Raphael Diaz might be one of the fastest defenders in the league and was able to tie him up. Grabner got off a chance, but it wasn't very good and Ramo was able to stop it with the pads. The Islanders were able to make quite a bit out of the ensuing time in the offensive zone and the Flames were playing some desperation defense, but the only thing that became of it were some exchanges after the whistle which led to some four on four hockey.
The Islanders basically controlled play throughout the majority of the second period. There wasn't a ton of action going on as the Islanders kept it in the Flames zone, though they didn't necessarily get of a ton of shots. The Flames rarely had the puck and when they did they weren't getting it on net.
The most exciting event of the second period for the Flames came with a minute left. Visnovsky tripped up the recently recalled rookie Emile Poirier and the Flames headed to the power play. The Islanders got possession with a little over thirty seconds left, won the ensuing faceoff and quickly got the puck out of the zone. That killed off the remainder of the period and the Islanders still led one to nothing.
Second Period Notes
- That was much better for the Islanders than it was for the Flames as they won the score adjusted Corsi battle 19.3 to 15.
- Do you like fun, fast-paced, action-packed hockey? That was not your period.
- It was already quite apparent that one of the goalies were going to be the victim of terrible luck.
The third period started as the Flames had some great chances on the power play. The Islanders had a few clears but really didn't stop the Flames from re-entering the zone. Halak had to make some relatively difficult saves and was able to cover right after the power play had expired to kill off the penalty.
The next few minutes had the Flames on their heels. The Islanders got the puck into the zone off of a Bailey carry in who passed it back to Anders Lee, but the attempt was blocked by Wideman. That play led to some pretty heavy offensive domination by the Islanders who were just able to get it out with enough time to make a few line changes.
The offensive flurry led to Cal Clutterbuck scoring a goal that wasn't. The Islanders were whacking away at the the puck and Clutterbuck was able to bang it home, but Nelson was checked into Ramo by Engelland and the referees called incidental goalie interference. Those plays aren't reviewable by the boys in Toronto and the game remained at one nothing in favor of the Islanders.
The Flames were able to get some chances late but the Islanders and Halak were able to were able to do enough to keep the Flames off of the scoreboard. The Flames were forced to pull the goalie but couldn't capitalized. Clutterbuck took a shot at the empty net, but missed. Fortunately for him the puck bounced back to him in the corner and he bounced it off of Wideman for the goal making it two to nothing Islanders.
The Flames were able to answer back quickly with 20 seconds left in the game. Joe Colborne took an inoccuous shot that bounced off of Jooris' stick and went in. The Flames once again pulled their goalie and established the zone, but Leddy iced it leaving 6.4 seconds remaining. The puck went to the corner of the draw and time expired.
Islanders win two to one.
Post Game Notes
- - The Flames really missed out on Mark Giordano. TJ Brodie didn't do too terribly, but he's rarely a negative possession player. While his relative was still better than the rest of the team, he was still in the negatives though all but one Flame was as well.
- The Islanders had a great game overall. They probably should have had more goals, but Ramo was great for the entire game. He definitely didn't deserve the loss.
- The Flames just don't get shut out. They may lose, but they just don't get shut out. Unbelievable.
- How nervous must Islanders fans have been after that goal though? Giving up a two-goal lead in 20 seconds would have really highlighted the few bad parts for the boys in blue.
First Star: Halak
Second Star: Strome
Third Star: Ramo