The New York Islanders were initially made to pay for their mistakes and their slow start in this matinee against the Colorado Avalanche, but a comeback effort started with Jordan Eberle in the second period, and continued all the way through the Islanders gaining the lead through Ryan Pulock, losing it, and then winning the game in overtime from another great Ryan Pulock shot. Once again, the Isles were able to keep the Avs’ top scorers off the board, and a slightly boring weekend game turned into a memorable comeback at the Barclays Center.
With Cal Clutterbuck out, Trotz opted not to use two-thirds of the Best Fourth Line in Hockey to start the game and went for the Nelson line. Anders Lee nearly got a goal early, but Semyon Varlamov was up to the task. The Isles had another good opportunity when Nikita Zadorov slipped, sending them on a two on one, but Valtteri Filppula and Ryan Pulock couldn’t make it work.
The Islanders, though they were able to shut down the Nathan MacKinnon line, seemed to struggle when Carl Soderberg was on the ice, and that line trapped the Isles in their own end and Soderberg got the Avs on the board first.
AJ Greer elbowed Valtteri Filppula when attempting a reverse hit, sending the Islanders to the power play, which went poorly as the Isles struggled to gain the zone and ever look threatening.
The Islanders took a rare too many men on the ice penalty, but then Mikko Rantanen high sticked Johnny Boychuk, giving us a minute of four on four hockey and then a power play. During four on four, the Isles made a bad change, and Erik Johnson was able to score, giving the Avalanche a 2-0 lead.
Most of the second period was fairly boring, until Brock Nelson forced an Avalanche turnover, got the puck to Jordan Eberle, who passed it to Anders Lee. Lee took a shot that Varlamov couldn’t get a handle on as it sneaked behind him, and Eberle scored off the loose puck, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
The third period had its stressful moments, with Robin Lehner attempting an aggressive play that left him caught far away from his net. Matt Martin rushed back and was able to dive to block MacKinnon’s shot, keeping the Isles within one and not allowing a potentially deflating goal in.
Later, Adam Pelech took a shot that was tipped towards the net by Michael Dal Colle, where Josh Bailey took a shot and then scored off his own rebound to tie the game.
Carl Soderberg and Mathew Barzal both took penalties for roughing after Barzal was put in a headlock and then fought back against Soderberg. On the four on four, Gabriel Landeskog hooked Brock Nelson, earning the Islanders a four on three opportunity. Pulock and Eberle passed the puck back and forth until Pulock could creep into position in the “Ovechkin spot,” where he ripped the puck past Varlamov to give the Islanders the lead.
Unfortunately, the Avalanche tied it late in the third, JT Compher getting credit for the deflection off Devon Toews’ skate in the crease as this game headed to overtime.
In a dominant overtime shift, Brock Nelson beat Tyson Barrie to the puck in the neutral zone and then fended him off as he went behind the Avalanche net and back around to take a shot, which was saved by Varlamov. However, Nelson beat Soderberg to the rebound and got the puck to Casey Cizikas, who brought it back around the net, changed directions and got the puck to Ryan Pulock, again at the left faceoff circle, who scored for the overtime win. The first view of the goal in the video misses Brock Nelson’s fantastic effort, which gets broken down in the replay.
- Ryan Pulock had a great game, with 2 goals and 8 shots on goal. He’s up to 25 points this season, just shy of a half a point a game, pretty good numbers in a somewhat down year for him.
- The power play continues to struggle, and getting an injection of talent at the trade deadline should be this team’s goal. It’ll help both at even strength and on the power play, where the team just doesn’t have anyone who can fill that role.
- The Barzal line had a great shift on Bailey’s goal, but that line still hasn’t looked great since the all-star game.
- The Islanders used Superhero Day to reunite a young boy with his father, who had been serving in the military in Kuwait. It was a great moment to see and a nice thing for the Islanders to do
The New York Islanders lace up the skates again tomorrow at the Barclays Center to host the visiting Minnesota Wild. The Wild, without captain Mikko Koivu, also played today, earning a win against the New Jersey Devils. Hopefully, the Isles will keep their hot streak on back-to-backs rolling with a win tomorrow.