The New York Islanders came out strong to start this game, pressuring Ottawa and maintaining strong play throughout the first two periods. However, that play only resulted in one goal by Anders Lee on the man advantage, and it wasn’t until a moment against the run of play as the Isles began shelling that they finally scored at even strength thanks to the incredible skating and puckhandling of Mathew Barzal. Jaroslav Halak also had a great game, turning away all but 1 of 30 shots, bouncing back from a few bad games and establishing that he is still very much in this goalie rotation. It was a deserved 2-1 win for the Islanders, and they’ll enjoy a few days off after a crowded schedule this weekend.
The Islanders made up for their slow start last night in Philly by starting off strong against the Ottawa Senators, enjoying a lot of ice time in the offensive zone but were unable to capitalize.
The power play struggled in the first, with the team struggling to connect at times. Josh Ho-Sang had a good chance shortly after a PP, trying to tip the puck to Nelson and nearly creating a great goal scoring chance, but it wasn’t to be.
Jaroslav Halak was great when needed, making a big save on Derick Brassard. Scott Mayfield took a cross checking penalty that almost led to an Erik Karlsson goal, but Johnny Boychuk made a strong defensive play to clear the puck out of the crease after the puck slipped through Halak’s pads. Halak again made a few saves to close out the period, 0-0.
On the penalty kill, Casey Cizikas was pushed hard into the boards, where he was likely injured. Cizikas left the bench for part of the period, returned to take a shift, and then left again.
Matt Duchene took a holding penalty, which led to what was originally credited as a Josh Bailey power play goal. Bailey took a shot while Anders Lee was screening Craig Anderson, beating the goalie and giving the Islanders the lead. However, the goal was then given to Anders Lee, who said during the intermission that the puck bounced off his “upper groin” area. Yikes.
Fredrik Claesson tripped Mathew Barzal, which led to a strong power play from the Islanders, with the first unit generating a lot of zone time and pressure but no goal.
Later, Josh Bailey fanned on a shot that could’ve put the Isles up 2-0, and Calvin de Haan took an interference penalty. On the penalty kill, Johnny Boychuk made a huge shot block, earning stick taps from Karlsson and Bobby Ryan.
It appeared that Thomas Hickey had given the Islanders the lead, but instead it was waived off due to goaltender interference by Jordan Eberle. However, Eberle was pushed into goalie Craig Anderson by a Sens player, yet was called for the penalty. The Islanders made the kill, maintaining the one goal lead.
The Isles went into a shell this period, but fans were treated to the BOZO (the Barzal Offensive Zone Orbit, not to be confused with the COZO) of the Sens’ zone, drawing a chasing defender out of position and leaving the puck off for Nick Leddy, who moved into the slot and passed the puck off to Eberle, who scored to give the Islanders the 2-0 lead.
Cal Clutterbuck then took a penalty for slashing on Alex Burrows, and Matt Duchene scored his first as an Ottawa Senator on the man advantage. The Sens continued to apply pressure and pulled Anderson, hemming the Isles into their own zone. Halak made a huge save on Brassard and de Haan made a great clear to allow the team to change. The Isles were then able to survive the pressure and hold on for the win.
Next, the Islanders host the Vancouver Canucks in Brooklyn on Tuesday, November 28. The Canucks are 11-9-3, fourth in the Pacific Division, and boast their own rookie sensation in Brock Boeser. The break until Tuesday will give the Isles some much needed rest, and hopefully we’ll see Casey Cizikas return for the game after having a little time to heal.