Though they took pratically two periods off, the New York Islanders were able to get the critical game winning goal from Anthony Beauvillier after Ottawa Senators goaltender and former Islander Anders Nilsson failed to control his initial save. Valtteri Filppula scored his 14th and 15th goals of the season in the first period. Much like last game against the Senators, the Islanders never quite looked comfortable, and it’s hard not to attribute that to the injuries and flu bug going around the locker room. Still, not the best trend to have to grind out wins against the worst team in the NHL as the Isles continue to lean on the bottom six to provide offense.
[Game Sum | Event Sum | Natural Stat Trick | HockeyViz]
Valtteri Filppula opened the scoring a little over five minutes into the period, with Nick Leddy taking a shot that hit the stick of an unprepared Leo Komarov. Komarov was able to make up for his initial miscue with the puck by getting it to Filppula, who held on to open up space for a nifty backhand past Nilsson.
Unfortunately, a little over a minute later, Brady Tkachuk tied the game off a deflection in front of Thomas Greiss. Tkachuk was able to beat Brock Nelson and deflect Ben Harpur’s shot into the net. Nelson probably could have been stronger against Tkachuk, but his deflection was also a neat bit of skill from the rookie.
Then, with under five minutes remaining, Filppula put the Islanders out in front again, as Jordan Eberle was able to get to a puck he dumped in, get it behind the net to Tom Kuhnhackl, and Kuhnhackl beat his man to get the puck to Filppula, who put it past Nilsson. The Isles closed out the period up 2-1.
I’ll let Carey Haber fill in the color here:
#NYIvsOTT Score-Venue Adjusted 5v5 2nd Period Metrics via @NatStatTrick— Carey Haber (@habermetrics) March 8, 2019
Sens 71.1% Attempts (20-7)
Sens 90.48% Scoring Chances (11-1)
Sens 85.46% High Danger (7-1)
Holy crap, you guys. Maybe one of the, I don't know, three worst periods of the season? Terrible. pic.twitter.com/5O7DzCR0uv
What was a pretty good first period for the Islanders then turned into a disaster second period. The Senators turned up the heat and the Islanders went into a shell, which is a dangerous thing to do when only up by one goal.
Despite Thomas Greiss’ excellent period— 16 saves in the second frame — he couldn’t keep the Islanders ahead when Oscar Lindberg pounced on a rebound to score his seventh goal of the season to tie the game.
At the end of the period, Ross Johnston tried to stir up some trouble after taking exception to JG Pageau’s (clean) hit on Adam Pelech, but it mostly resulted in a big crowd in front of the benches and not a whole lot else.
Early in the third, Casey Cizikas and Zack Smith got into it as Smith hit Cizikas from behind, prompting Cizikas to hold and slash his stick before Smith tackled Cizikas, leading to both players getting double minors (Cizikas for slashing and roughing and Smith four minutes for roughing). With neither team getting a power play, the game remained tied.
Then Anthony Beauvillier got on the board, putting the Islanders back in the lead. Beauvillier won the offensive zone faceoff, got the puck to Adam Pelech who was able to get the puck on goal, and with both Beauvillier and Michael Dal Colle crashing to the net and drawing defenders, Beauvillier was able to get a shot past Nilsson.
Casey Cizikas got his 19th goal of the season on the empty net, sealing the Isles’ 4-2 win.
With the win tonight, the Islanders move back into first place, with an identical record to the Washington Capitals, but boasting a better goal differential. They face the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Coliseum for Bill Torrey Appreciation night. The Islanders will be wearing “WAT” patches to commemorate Torrey, and will hopefully earn a critical two points in the playoff race.