Well, it definitely wasn’t pretty. That game was the definition of highway robbery. But the two points puts the Islanders in the first wild card spot.
Blues Open the Scoring Twice in the First
As was the case Thursday night against the Blackhawks, the Islanders conceded the first goal of the game before it was five minutes old, but unfortunately their response was not as enthusiastic this time around. Brayden Schenn converted on a rebound in front of Robin Lehner in which he was all alone and he was able to snap it past.
Before the period was out, the Blues would get another on the board with Zach Sanford tipping the shot right in front of Lehner, who would have had it without the deflection.
A Dreadful Second Period Still Nets a Goal
The Islanders only had two shots get through to the net during the second period, and the appearance of their play certainly represented that. It was pretty ugly.
But one of those two shots managed to get through Jake Allen: Casey Cizikas carried the puck behind the net and fed Matt Martin in the slot and he one-timed it to bring the Islanders within one. Lehner played well to hold St. Louis off the scoresheet in the period.
Getting All the Breaks in the Third
The Islanders must have known their effort wasn’t really there through two, so they finally kicked it up a notch in the third, and it paid off splendidly. They tied the game up when Jordan Eberle, who was one of many Islanders top-9 forwards who struggled mightily through the first two periods, snuck it in on Allen’s short side.
And for added fun, it took only 11 more seconds to get the lead. Allen was screened in front by Martin and his defensive counterpart and Johnny Boychuk floated a wrist shot that Allen couldn’t see.
With about 5 minutes remaining, Devon Toews sent a lead pass from his own zone up to Anders Lee cheating at the opposing blue line for a one-on-one and Allen stopped his first shot, but Lee gathered his own rebound and beat Allen. The goal would prove necessary, as the Blues would get a goal with their net empty. Lehner also took a bump in the head from Ryan Pulock’s knee, and didn’t look like he should have gotten to play the final twenty seconds, but they let him finish it off.
How’d they do it? Team.
“If you talk about us there’s not really one individual. It’s a team. Tonight we won with good goaltending and we were led by the Cizikas line. And when it came to crunch time our leaders stepped up.” #NYIvsSTL pic.twitter.com/3xgGsggtVx— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 6, 2019
The tired Islanders get two days off before their next game, hosting the Hurricanes at the Coliseum.