Though the offense started slow, the New York Islanders came alive to the tune of four goals in a dominant performance against the Winnipeg Jets. Josh Bailey opened the scoring with a power play goal, and Brock Nelson and Anders Lee added to the lead in the second period. Patrik Laine got one back for the Jets, but Anthony Beauvillier gave the Islanders a 4-1 lead they never relinquished early in the third period. It’s a great first win of the season for the Isles, who will still have questions to answer on offense going forward.
After warmups, the Jets announced that defenseman Josh Morrissey would be out for the game, giving Carl Dahlstrom the nod his first game as a Winnipeg Jet. The Jets defense has lost a lot this offseason, trading away Trouba, losing Myers to free agency, and being forced to suspend Byfuglien as he takes a leave of absence.
Despite the weakened Jets defense, the Isles didn’t generate a lot in the first period. Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock had some early looks, as did Michael Dal Colle. Casey Cizikas took a slashing penalty, and Thomas Greiss made some good saves while Leo Komarov was denied on a shorthanded breakaway by Laurent Brossoit. More on him later.
The Islanders earned a power play with just 2.6 seconds left in the first, leaving them with almost the entire two minutes to start the second period.
And opening up the scoring tonight, Josh Bailey with a power play tally. Just as the Coliseum was starting to sing the Josh Bailey song, Devon Toews got the puck to Anthony Beauvillier, who passed the puck to a wide open Bailey out in front to give the Isles the lead.
Following that, Cal Clutterbuck and Ryan Pulock created a 2 on 1 opportunity, but Pulock’s shot was saved by Brossoit. Mathew Barzal had a good individual effort, but was taken down by Neal Pionk in front of the net with no call. Jordan Eberle had a good shot, but was also met by Brossoit.
After a faceoff win in the Jets zone, Pulock took a shot that found Bailey down low, and Bailey dished it off to Brock Nelson who found enough time and space to get off his wrister in part thanks to Michael Dal Colle’s net-front work.
Mathieu Perreault then hit the post for the Jets, and Greiss continued to make good saves. Beauvillier was denied by Brossoit, and Barzal nearly scored on a breakaway but dragged his backhand wide.
Derick Brassard then was sent off for tripping, and the Isles more offensive, counter attacking penalty kill had some good breakaway opportunities, with Nelson denied twice by Brossoit. As the PK expired, the Isles had a few more chances to break Brossoit for a third, but he stood tall. Then the captain broke through.
Eberle got the puck in deep and passed it to Barzal, who got it to Scott Mayfield at the point. Mayfield then shot the puck, and it was deflected by Anders Lee’s skate, giving the Isles a 3-0 lead.
Leddy and Beauvillier had a 2 on 1 opportunity, but Leddy hit the post. That three-goal lead then came in handy, as Laine cut it down to two after on a great shot that Greiss truly had no chance at stopping. It was Laine’s first career goal against the Islanders. Near the end of the period, Greiss had a big save on Mason Appleton to keep the two goal lead.
A good attempt by Kyle Connor was stopped by Greiss, and less than a minute and a half into the third, Beauvillier restored the Isles three-goal lead with a backhand shot. Devon Toews brought the puck in and got it around the net to Leo Komarov, who then brought the puck up to Brassard. Brassard took a shot and Beauvillier picked up the rebound at the top of the crease and buried it.
Greiss was called upon to stop many of the Jets shots as the Isles leaned back on their three goal lead, but ultimately the team was able to get a huge first win in their second game of the season.
- The Jets defense was pretty bad tonight, so the Isles will still have questions to answer about whether their offense can produce consistently against other elite teams. Against the Capitals, it didn’t look pretty, but it’s still very early in the season.
- A huge year from Beauvillier could be a difference-maker. It’s his fourth season on the team so it’s easy to forget he’s only 22 years old, with the ability to score 20+ goals in a season. If he could drive some play on his own, he’ll be putting the team in a great spot.
- Another huge impact player could be Devon Toews, who continues to look dynamic on the ice. More power play time for him will be a difference maker.
- Laurent Brossoit was really good for the Jets, who seem like a talented team that’s poised to be let down pretty hard by a depleted defense. Wonder if they’d be willing to spare one of their top six forwards for a defenseman...
- Brock Nelson loves October.
Next, the Islanders have another home game at the Coliseum, going up against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers are 2-0 so far this season, beating the Canucks and Kings at home. It’s always fun when a player of McDavid’s caliber comes to play, so hopefully it’ll be a good one.