The New York Islanders needed a win tonight after last night’s blowout against the Dallas Stars. The odds were against them as they faced the St. Louis Blues, who hold the best record in the Western Conference. However, the Isles’ offense struck quickly and often, putting four goals past starter Jake Allen and then one past replacement Carter Hutton. Thomas Greiss was also phenomenal, keeping the Isles in the game as the fatigue from traveling and playing back to back games set in. A fantastic game from him and an offensive surge helped the Islanders get right back on track tonight.
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To make up for what was frankly an awful game in Dallas, the Islanders started off hot, as John Tavares struck three minutes into the game. He got the puck from behind the net, came out in front, and faked out Jake Allen enough to put it past him.
Thomas Greiss could almost be considered an offensive catalyst tonight, as two great saves from him on Paul Stastny sent the Islanders the other way to score. The first time, Greiss robbed Stastny, which then led to the Isles getting the puck quickly up ice where Nick Leddy took a shot. Leddy’s shot forced Allen to leave a huge rebound, which Casey Cizikas picked up to score.
Then, a nearly identical play happened, as Greiss made another save on Stastny, which sent Andrew Ladd and Jordan Eberle on a 2 on 1. Ladd passed the puck off to Eberle who shot it past Allen for a 3-0 lead.
The Blues pushed back a little as the period closed out, but Greiss stood tall.
The Islanders started off the period on the offense, getting lots of good shots and chances. And then... a beautiful thing happened. Alan Quine fed the puck to Josh Ho-Sang, who shot it past Allen to give the Islanders a 4-0 lead.
This goal led to the Blues making a goalie switch, with Carter Hutton replacing Jake Allen for the rest of the night.
After the switch, the Blues started to up the pressure. Johnny Boychuk and Scottie Upshall took corresponding penalties after getting tangled up, and Brayden Schenn scored on the four on four, to make it 4-1. Soon after, Jaden Schwartz hit a shot off the post.
Dennis Seidenberg was then called for tripping, which led to an extremely nervy Islanders penalty kill. There were a few notable bad clearing attempts that let the Blues get some great chances, but Thomas Greiss was a machine, stopping everything that came his way.
Then, the Islanders got a power play of their own, where Josh Bailey had a good chance to score as did Tavares, but the Isles maintained just their three goal lead.
About six minutes into the period, the Blues got back into the game as Scottie Upshall pushed a loose puck past Greiss to make it 4-2. There was a league initiated review, but ultimately the goal was good.
After a few close calls for the Blues, Bailey read a play in the defensive zone and then rushed up into the offensive zone. There, the Islanders were able to pass the puck around, and Adam Pelech took a shot that Anders Lee was able to deflect past Hutton for a 5-2 lead. With that, the game was pretty much wrapped up, as they closed out a win.
Thoughts and Notes
- Greiss stood on his head tonight, saving 35 of 37 shots. However, despite getting outshot, the Islanders played a good game tonight. Score effects and fatigue really set in, and the early 3-0 lead will skew the numbers.
- The penalty kill looked very shaky tonight. It might be because a lot of the usual personnel is out, but that’s gotta tighten up.
- A stat brought up on the MSG broadcast tonight was that under Doug Weight, after blowout losses the Islanders always come back with a big win the next game. Whatever he’s saying does seem to connect with the players and motivate them, but hopefully the team can start getting enough motivation to not get beaten up on the scoresheet every few games.
Next, the Islanders come home to the Barclays Center to play the Carolina Hurricanes for Military Appreciation Night. The Hurricanes were a trendy pick to be pretty good this year, but are currently in last in the Metropolitan Division, albeit with less games played than the rest of the teams. Even so, only 6 points separates first and last in the division, and the Isles are only 4 points ahead. The Hurricanes have been a thorn in the Isles’ side in seasons past, so it’d be nice to win this one and get some real separation.