Six minutes after puck drop in this Friday night tilt between the New York Islanders and the Detroit Red Wings, the score was 2-0 to the Red Wings. With less than two minutes left, it was 6-5 Islanders. And when the clock hit 0, it was 6-6. But then, after a messed up non-penalty call in overtime, Brock Nelson put the game to rest with his third goal of the game. That’s hockey, as they say. What a game.
After a terrible performance in Buffalo, where the Islanders managed to crawl back into the game only to blow a point by conceding a terrible goal late in the third, a big result was needed. It was important to start the game strong and squash the mediocre Red Wings. Which is why...
2:13- Anthony Mantha gets in alone on Thomas Greiss, and has all the time and space in the world to put Detroit up 1-0.
5:12- The Islanders get beat to the puck and Martin Frk is found alone in the slot to make it 2-0. Yikes.
14:40- Henrik Zetterberg scores to seemingly bury the game early, with the Islanders looking terrible and now down by 3. It was Zetterberg’s first goal in 15 games. Yeesh.
The Islanders had a very impressive 3 shots on goal in the entire second period, but fortunately, one of them went in.
Mat Barzal batted the puck out of the air to block a clearing attempt by the Red Wings, and passed it off to Jordan Eberle who went fivehole on Petr Mrazek.
The score: 3-1
Barzal assist tally: 1
Isles fans’ mood: Not too great.
Buckle up folks.
3:02- Thomas Hickey’s one timer shot found Brock Nelson’s stick, who tipped the puck past Mrazek for his first of the game.
The score: 3-2
Nelson goal tally: 1
Isles fans’ mood: Is this the comeback?
7:32- Then, deflation. Old friend Frans Nielsen took a long shot that landed between Thomas Greiss’ legs, but Greiss was unable to keep hold of the puck. It trickled through and Darren Helm put it in the empty net.
The score: 4-2
Isles fans’ mood: Typical Islanders
9:54- The Islanders took a too many men on the ice penalty, and Anthony Mantha scored after tipping in a Niklas Kronwall shot from the point. After the goal, Thomas Greiss was pulled, and Jaroslav Halak entered the game. It appeared to be too little, too late.
The score: 5-2
Isles fans’ mood: Here we go again...
Professional pest Cal Clutterbuck got under Tyler Bertuzzi’s skin late in the third, and Bertuzzi took a two-handed slash at Clutterbuck’s knee. For that, he was given a match penalty, giving the Isles a five minute major.
14:34- Brock Nelson again! Nelson deflected Barzal’s wrister past Mrazek for the power play goal, putting the Isles back within two.
The score: 5-3
Nelson goal tally: 2
Barzal assist tally: 2
Isles fans’ mood: There’s no way they can do this, right?
15:28- And then, Anders. Anders Lee’s 29th goal of the season came from his office in front of the net. Barzal’s shot was saved by Mrazek, and Lee picked up the rebound and buried it to close the gap more.
The score: 5-4
Barzal assist tally: 3
Isles fans’ mood: RIGHT???
16:39- Nick Leddy ties it up! His one-timer goes past Mrazek cleanly, with Lee providing a screen in front. And what a comeback, but it’s not over yet. The Isles needed two points tonight, and with time on the power play still remaining, there’s a chance to make that final push.
The score: 5-5
Isles fans’ mood: Can we really get two points?
18:11- Yes, yes, yes we can! With 17 seconds left on the man advantage, a rocket from Josh Bailey gives the Islanders the lead. Barzal hands the puck off to John Tavares, who walks it down the middle and passes to Bailey, who makes no mistake.
The score: 6-5(!!!)
Barzal assist tally: 4
Isles fans’ mood: !!!!!?!?!!?!?!!!!!!?!?!?!?!!!!
19:31- Oh, yikes. Mike Green’s shot tied the game again, 6-6. It was reviewed for goaltender interference by Justin Abdelkader, but ultimately deemed a good goal. Welp.
Isles fans’ mood: Not again...
3 on 3 overtime is always frenetic, but when the refs struggle to make the right calls, it can get very tense. Doug Weight lost his mind on the bench after play was blown dead due to what seemed to be a too many men on the ice violation for Detroit. However, the contact with the puck was deemed an accident, and therefore not called as a penalty. On the broadcast, Brendan Burke clarified that accidental contact isn’t penalized, but play also shouldn’t be blown dead in these instances. So, the refs screwed up. But that doesn’t matter.
Because... Brock Nelson, hat trick hero! Barzal steals in the puck in the Isles’ defensive zone, then passes the puck off to Nelson on the rush, where Nelson buries it top shelf for the overtime winner and his third of the night. And, breathe.
The score: 7-6
Nelson goal tally: 3
Barzal assist tally: 5
Isles fans’ mood:
- I had to basically re-write this whole recap, so I’ll keep it brief: obviously, getting a five minute power play helps big time. That’s not going to happen most games. But scoring 7 in a comeback win is really, really, REALLY fun.
- Greiss honestly shouldn’t play another NHL game this season until he figures it out. If they have to waive him, so be it. He’s playing well-below NHL average and tonight’s game pushed him to a 4.03 GAA this season. That’s awful.
- Mathew Barzal is the best and should win the Calder no questions asked.
- Maybe they can build some momentum off of this. Maybe.
Next, the New York Islanders host the Calgary Flames on Sunday, February 11. It’ll be a return to the Barclays Center for Travis Hamonic, who was traded in the offseason. The Flames have been up and down this season in a very open Pacific Division. I think the video tribute for Hamonic, who was a great guy on and especially off the ice, should be really nice.