The New York Islanders cruised to a 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators tonight, coming back after Tyler Ennis opened the scoring for the Sens. Nick Leddy nearly had a natural hat trick but his third goal was taken away from him after it appeared that Matt Martin had deflected the puck. Derick Brassard scored the Isles’ fourth goal of the game, continuing his improved play after switching to wing. Despite the win, however, the Isles lost Tom Kuhnhackl to what looked to be a pretty nasty knee injury, and had Matt Martin playing through some pain in the later stages of the game after crashing into the open Senators bench gate in the second period. With the win, the Isles improve to 7-3-0 on the season and 13-1-1 on the second half of back to backs since Barry Trotz took over.
The Islanders went with a somewhat untraditional 11 forward/7 defensemen lineup, letting Noah Dobson draw back in after a bunch of games out. Tom Kuhnhackl also got back into the lineup, as Michael Dal Colle and Oliver Wahlstrom both sat.
Anders Lee took a penalty a few minutes into the first period for hooking Vladislav Namestnikov. The Ottawa Senators entered the game with a woeful power play firing at a little over 3%. On this particular power play, they didn’t increase their total, however just as Anders Lee stepped out of the box, Tyler Ennis scored to give the Sens the lead.
Dobson nearly set up Matt Martin for the game tying goal, which would’ve made his second NHL point nearly identical to the first where he earned an assist on a Martin goal. A scary moment followed after as Tom Kuhnhackl fell while chasing a puck and then was hit by a Senators defenseman, causing him to hit his leg awkwardly into the boards. Kuhnhackl looked to be in a lot of pain but attempted to stand up before falling back down to the ice, where he eventually had to be escorted off as he couldn’t put weight on his left knee. He did not return to the game.
Nick Leddy then tied the game for the Isles on a fantastic solo effort. Leddy got the puck from Martin and brought it through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone, beating four Ottawa skaters before putting the puck fivehole on former Islander Anders Nilsson.
Derick Brassard was sent off for high sticking, but after the penalty expired, Cole Bardreau attempted to get the puck up to him on a breakaway. Bardreau’s stick broke but he was still able to kick the puck to Brassard, though with that little loss of speed, he couldn’t get a full breakaway and Nilsson saved his shot. The Isles got a power play (finally) as Nick Paul was called for interference on Mathew Barzal. Anthony Beauvillier nearly gave the Isles the lead, but he hit the post. As Leddy was streaking to the net with the puck on the power play, he was taken down by Nikita Zaitsev, and Leddy was awarded a penalty shot that he used to give the Islanders the lead.
A Cole Bardreau penalty for roughing (super weak call) carried over from the end of the first period, and the Sens had a few good looks on goal. However, the Isles made their chances count, as Nick Leddy appeared to get his natural hat trick to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead. The goal was originally credited to him, and that accomplishment would have made him the first defenseman in NHL history to record a hat trick that included a penalty shot. However, Leddy would lose out on that historic record as the puck turned out to be tipped in by Matt Martin.
Just over a minute later, the Isles’ lead would be extended as Derick Brassard buried a pass off a great play from Barzal, giving Brassard his second goal in two games. The Sens then pulled Nilsson for Craig Anderson.
Matt Martin left the game off what looked to be a bad knee injury after he was hit into the boards and then went awkwardly into the unlatched Senators bench gate. Losing Martin for a while put the Isles down to nine forwards, a tough situation to be in on the second half of a back to back. Matters were made worse when Cal Clutterbuck and Mark Borowiecki sort of fought each other, with both players earning two minutes for roughing and 10 minute majors, but Borowiecki’s roughing call was actually a double minor, giving the Isles a power play. However, Jean-Gabriel Pageau earned the Senators a power play on a shorthanded breakaway. While driving to the net on the four on four, Anders Lee slightly ran into Anderson, and was called for goaltender interference. Greiss made some big saves on a huge Isles penalty kill and continued to after the penalty expired as the game got a little more open.
Matt Martin returned for the third period, though he didn’t play very much. The Senators hit the post, and Brady Tkachuk forced Casey Cizikas into fighting him, a move that seemed a lot like it was intended just to keep the Isles down to even fewer forwards. Despite Tkachuk basically randomly punching Cizikas to start the fight, both players only got five minutes for fighting.
Brock Nelson took a tripping penalty and Tyler Ennis scored again for Ottawa, this time on the power play, to make it a 4-2 game. Beauvillier hit the post again on a backhand attempt, and for a little while after that the Isles just looked gassed from playing down forwards on their second game in two nights after traveling to Ottawa.
With a little over two minutes to go, the Sens pulled Anderson. Greiss caught a shot in his glove and as the whistle blew, Ennis poked at it to try and shake the puck loose. Greiss took exception to this and went after Ennis, prompting Clutterbuck to actually engage with Ennis as Tkachuk grabbed Greiss. Both Clutterbuck and Ennis were sent off with minor penalties. Josh Bailey hit the post on the empty net, but the Isles held on to win their sixth straight game this season.
- The refs sucked big time tonight. A lot of missed calls and extracurriculars allowed to go on, while Cole Bardreau was given two minutes for shoving a guy in a scrum in front of the net. Weird.
- Wishing Tom Kuhnhackl a quick recovery, definitely a scary sight when he couldn’t stand on his own.
- The Senators seem to have decided to be the kind of bad team that doubles down on playing like goons. Yikes.
- Cole Bardreau seems like the exact type of player Trotz and his staff love. Not spectacular but seems to always be in the right place making pretty good plays. At the very least, he’s been better than Leo Komarov in generally the same role, so that’s an improvement.
Next, the Islanders return back to the Coliseum to take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, October 27. That’ll be their last game of the month as the gap-filled early season schedule continues on. Time for seven in a row.