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Islanders 2, Panthers 1: Point streak stays alive, thanks to Greiss, Barzal

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The Islanders stayed alive, too, despite a barrage of shots from the Panthers. In fact, they had a little bit of a barrage themselves.

Florida Panthers v New York Islanders
Greiss had a couple battles and shoving matches with Vatrano.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The Islanders sought to extend their point streak this afternoon with the Florida Panthers in Brooklyn in the Islanders’ official Hockey Fights Cancer game. After donning lavender practice jerseys, they played on ice surrounded by boards with lavender tinted advertisements, interspersed with a touching fan ceremony and tribute on-air to an MSG colleague suffering from cancer.

It was a fitting schedule date for the game with cancer survivor Brian Boyle suiting up for Florida.

But the Islanders still came away victorious.

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First Period: Barzal and Greiss flash their skills

The Islanders looked pretty good to start the first, earning themselves an early power play. Mathew Barzal was out there the whole time, and as Evgenii Dadonov was leaving the penalty box, Barzal received a high-danger cross-ice pass from Brock Nelson. He wasn’t able to get a shot off immediately, but instead of wasting it, he pulled it to his backhand, getting Sergei Bobrovsky onto his belly and lifting it off the curve of his stick and in.

After that, the Panthers turned up the volume and got to some high-danger areas, but Thomas Greiss was up to the task.

Second Period: No goals but plenty of shots

The second period brought more high event action for both teams, with the Islanders holding a slight advantage. Both goalies were hot, though, making things difficult on all the skaters.

Third Period: Tied, briefly

The Panthers tied the game up on a fluke goal on a power play early in the third. Jonathan Huberdeau tried to send a pass through the slot to the other face-off dot but it bounced off Scott Mayfield and Aleksander Barkov kept swatting at it until it snuck past Greiss.

But, the Islanders got a fluke goal of their own when Mayfield, in a bit of instant redemption (instant karma, even?) threw the puck from the right half-wall toward the slot. It bounced off the sticks of, I believe, Boyle and Anton Stralman before hopping over Bobrovsky. The tie lasted :38.

The Panthers continued to fire pucks at Greiss and got a couple high-danger chances; the Islanders, meanwhile, did the same thing. Then when it came time for the Panthers to pull the goalie, they first couldn’t get out of their own end, and then the Islanders didn’t allow them to get a chance when they did.

Thoughts

  • Thomas Greiss continues to play on another level. Some of the saves he made, I’m not even sure how he saw the puck. Sure, he got a little help from the crossbar and his teammates, but he was everywhere the puck was today.

He definitely earned that Game Score today:

  • Speaking of playing on another level: Mathew Barzal. He had an excellent pull-back of the puck on the first goal, deking everyone out of their shorts, and he drove into the offensive zone to set up the second goal immediately after the Panthers goal, not even letting it get in his head. We are so fortunate to have him here, and he’s definitely breaking out into a dominant player at both ends of the ice.
  • Adam Pelech has been a fantastic defenseman since Barry Trotz came in. It’s amazing to see the transformation he’s undergone from turnstile under Doug Weight to stonewall under Trotz. The consecutive stick checks as the Panthers cruised into the zone were spectacular.
  • The Panthers look like a great team under Joel Quenneville. They just couldn’t get anything past Greiss today. They suffer because of the division they’re in, but they should be a playoff team this season.
  • The NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer program is excellent.

Overall, not the best defensive effort the Islanders have seen under Trotz, but they still got the two points, extending their point streak and moving to second in the NHL with a game in hand. Of course, because the Capitals are first in the NHL, the Islanders still aren’t first in the Metro Division. But that’s not really a big deal.

Up Next

The Islanders will have a few days off from game action before hosting John Tavares and the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Coliseum on Wednesday night. Should be a hell of a time.