The New York Islanders defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-2 with two goals from Anders Lee and easily the goal of the year by John Tavares. The Islanders continued their streak of taking down some of the NHL’s best, and the offense has been clicking in these past few games. The win tonight put the Islanders above NHL .500, and the players know this is just the start to digging themselves out of the hole they’ve been in since the start of the season.
Robby Fabbri opened the scoring early in the first period with a goal that was contested by the Islanders for goaltender interference. Vladimir Tarasenko drove to the net on the play, and appeared to impede Thomas Greiss’ ability to get over to make the save on Fabbri. However, the refs ruled that it was a good goal, meaning the Isles lost their time out and were down by one.
Personally, I thought it was interference, because Tarasenko probably could’ve avoided skating directly into Greiss, but I’m not a referee.
It didn’t matter for too long though, because Jori Lehtera took a high sticking penalty shortly after Fabbri’s goal. The Islanders won the faceoff at the start of the power play, and Nick Leddy took a shot that Anders Lee tipped down to the ice, where it then bounced up and over Jake Allen’s glove.
Then, nothing too interesting happened. Except…
Holy Moly, John Tavares
This is really what you’re all here for, because John Tavares is a hockey god who made the mere mortals on ice for the St. Louis Blues cower before him. Words can’t do this goal justice, so here’s a video replay and two gifs at different angles for your viewing pleasure.
(Please never leave us, Johnny.)
That goal put the Isles up 2-1, which is what the score remained for the rest of the period. The Islanders had another power play, due to another Lehtera high stick, but despite a lot of zone time, the Isles failed to get anything dangerous going.
The Blues came out strong in the second, and were rewarded with a Kyle Brodziak goal early on to tie the game. Travis Hamonic went out of position to lay a hit on Fabbri, who was able to retain the puck and pass to an open Brodziak.
Ladd and Kulemin appear to have switched lines. #Isles conceding blue line quite a bit this period.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) December 9, 2016
Later on, Nick Leddy had a chance to regain the lead for the Islanders, but despite being practically one-on-one with Allen, he elected to pass, and it didn’t connect, squandering the scoring opportunity.
Nick Leddy w/ a nice spin move and gets a good look in in front of the net. Opts to pass the puck off. That was a play you shoot on. #Isles— Christian Arnold (@C_Arnold01) December 9, 2016
Ryan Reaves shouldered Shane Prince in the head and took a penalty for contact to the head. Once again, the power play failed to really generate anything dangerous. The drop-off between the first and second power play units is really glaring too, but the first unit has to be more willing to shoot with all the zone time they generate.
The Islanders pressed a lot more this period, with some good shifts from the fourth line. Calvin de Haan, Alan Quine, and Jason Chimera caused some trouble for Jake Allen, but no goals came out of it. Anthony Beauvillier looked noticeably good in the third period, making some smart plays in the offensive zone. He should be a regular in this lineup, even when everyone’s healthy.
And just when everyone was talking about how the Blues have gone to overtime in four of their last five games, Anders Lee scored the go ahead goal for the Isles, making the score 3-2 off a laser shot. Casey Cizikas won the faceoff in the Blues end, getting it right to Lee’s stick, and he made no mistake. Lee is now tied with Tavares for the goal lead with eight, and his hot streak improved to seven goals in his last eight games.
Thomas Greiss made some key saves late in the third to preserve the lead and the win. The Islanders are 5-0-1 in their last six games, and are above NHL .500 for the first time all season.
The New York Islanders host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, December 10th. The Blue Jackets are 15-5-4, good for 3rd in the Metropolitan Division, are on a four game win streak, and are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games. They play the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, so the Islanders will be facing Columbus on the second half of a back-to-back. Let’s keep the streak alive, Isles.
Boychuk was the one who cracked up Tavares after his goal. "I told him if he didn't score on that, I definitely would have."— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) December 9, 2016