Oh man. I laughed, I cried, I blew snot - Barclays Center played host to a helluva game. The Islanders came out on top thanks to a Johnny Boychuk winner after entering the third period trailing by a goal.
Josh Ho-Sang drew a tripping penalty a few minutes in and the Islanders power play was solid, though did not result in a goal. The two squads took turns hanging out for extended periods of time in each other’s ends before any scoring took place.
That’s when Mathew Barzal exploded for a breakaway goal, faking a pass before sending it through Scott Darling.
Not to be outdone, Cal Clutterbuck fired a shot on a shorthanded breakaway made possible by Anders Lee’s penalty, which occurred right after the Barzal goal.
Speaking of Lee’s penalty, the Hurricanes wouldn’t allow themselves to walk away from it empty-handed. Elias Lindholm tipped home a Sebastian Aho (theirs) shot that he screened.
Capping off Darling’s rough final five minutes of the period was Nick Leddy’s blast from the blue line off some pretty passing by the top line and unit. Be that as it may, Leddy took his time winding up, and the shot bounced out of Darling’s glove. Oh, Darling.
Carolina brought themselves back into the game early in the period by way of a goal from Noah Hanifin, which my brother said gave him some fantasy points. Silver linings.
Midway through their dominant period, the ‘Canes would record a tally that was credited to Derek Ryan, but it wouldn’t be possible without Thomas Greiss pushing it in from under his knee.
Completing the strong period was a tic-tac-toe set up after Barzal was muscled off the puck in the corner, leaving Greiss sprawling as Aho lifted it over him.
Perhaps desperate to erase the memories of a period past, the Isles looked significantly stronger throughout the third, earning a power play that proved fruitful. Barzal’s Tavares-seeking pass kicked off Brock McGinn, after which it was picked up by Lee and flicked back to Josh Bailey, tying the game.
Around eight or nine minutes pass by and the Isles’ fourth line enters the Carolina zone. Casey Cizikas skates down the right boards and drops a pass for Johnny Boychuk. With less than four minutes remaining, Boychuk rifled a slap shot past Darling, off the far post and into the back of the net - my friends and I erupted in my basement. Jordan Eberle sealed the game with an empty-netter.
Weight-Speak: ‘They could be so much better’
In the midst of fretting about the second period, Weight also concedes the eternal truth of, “We’re all homegrown and watch our team, but the other team has a lot to do with it.”
I wish more hockey games were like that. What a dramatic, back-and-forth contest. My emotions were all over the place. Big win going into Saturday night’s game in Tampa - the Lightning, in case you hadn’t heard, have the best record in the NHL. Stamkos and Kucherov are ridiculous. Gotta bank the points where they can.