The New York Islanders extended their win streak to five games, with their second consecutive shutout, in a 3-0 dismissal of the Anaheim Ducks at Nassau Coliseum.
The win — their 15th in the last 18 games — kept them in first place in the Metro, as they rode three goals from bottom-sixers and another thorough Trotzian performance to suffocate the visitors.
[Game Sum | Event Sum | Corsica | Natural Stat Trick | HockeyViz]
First Period: Cal’s tremendous afternoon
The Islanders picked up right where they left off against the Capitals and Devils, controlling play and rolling lines to convincingly own the period.
But on the scoresheet, it was Cal Clutterbuck’s period, as the grinder increased his season’s goal output by 50 percent.
The Islanders had an early power play thanks to Too Many Men by the Ducks, but the first unit couldn’t even get set up in the zone. A Ryan Pulock stick-break nearly ruined things for the second unit too, but Cal Clutterbuck and Anthony Beauvillier worked with urgency to retain possession along the boards.
Beauvillier then sent an aerial pass in the slot to Josh Bailey, who in catching it was able to fool the defense, freeze Chad Johnson, and tee up a shot for Clutterbuck in the slot. 1-0 for the Islanders.
Clutterbuck’s second goal — his sixth of the season, and third Islanders goal in a row from his stick — came after an inexplicable gift from Hampus Lindholm. The Ducks defenseman sent a blind, between the legs pass from behind the Ducks goal line to no one in particular. Adam Pelech pounced on it at the blueline with a shot that Johnson softly rebounded to the slot, where Clutterbuck was ready.
How's this #Skinny-worthy note from @brendanmburke -- Cal Clutterbuck has outscored the #Isles opponents BY HIMSELF over the last five games: Cal 4, Opponents 3 #NHL— Eric Hornick (@ehornick) January 20, 2019
Second Period: Leading them on
The second period offered some prime chances for the Ducks to get back into the game.
Among them: Robin Lehner, who was adventurous but composed in playing the puck behind the net all afternoon, slipped up and turned it over, leaving Ryan Getzlaf a golden opportunity with an open net.
Enter Johnny Boychuk, to save the day.
Boy-chuk! Boy-chuk! #Isles pic.twitter.com/CrqaDWjeJe— IslesBlog (@IslesBlog) January 20, 2019
Adam Pelech’s stick broke — one of a half-dozen untimely stick breaks on the day — to create a breakaway the other way for Josh Manson, but Lehner was patient and oooooutstanding in staying with him and swinging his left leg to diffuse the deke.
LEHNER!!! #Isles pic.twitter.com/aK37ZowyEW— Eyes on Isles (@eyesonislesFS) January 20, 2019
Those chances aside, it was an even, low-event period overall. And the dagger came via Leo Komarov with 29 seconds left.
On a sequence where all five skaters touched the puck in the offensive zone, Scott Mayfield sent a pass over to Devon Toews, who was ready to send a rising but tippable shot toward the net, where Komarov redirected it to wrong foot Johnson and make it 3-0.
#Isles vs. Ducks 5v5 Metrics after 2— Carey Haber (@habermetrics) January 20, 2019
Islanders 59.62% All Attempts
Islanders 70.83% Scoring Chances
Islanders 80% High Danger Chances
Islanders 69.82% Expected Goals
Ducks expectedly with a push, but continuing to go real well in Uniondale...
Third Period: It’s a party
Jordan Eberle had two of the better chances of the third period, a speed run down the left wing side that required a save from Johnson in tight, then a good backhand off the ensuing faceoff.
The Ducks eventually got some chances, though they went almost half a period before finally logging a shot on Lehner. They would get a few good looks, but never threatened to get back into the game as the Isles outshot them 11-6 in the period (28-19 overall).
Mostly, things turned into a celebration as the sellout crowd serenaded their surging team on the way to closing out the shutout. Lehner was interviewed on the ice as the first star and the crowd basically drowned out his responses by shouting “Leh-NER! Leh-NER!” over and over.
Things are going well in Islanders Country. Really well.
There is one more game before the All-Star Break and bye week, a visit to Chicago to face the Blackhawks on Tuesday.
With the win today, they’ve built a cushion on first place in the Metro (and...second in the East. Crazy.) Another on Tuesday sends them into the break in style.