It’s been a whiiiile since the New York Islanders have added another win to their record, but the trip up to Ottawa finally broke an 11-game losing streak. Now we can spin the narrative a bit, with the Islanders on a 4 game point streak, the only positive to the mess the season has been so far.
Anders Lee opened up the scoring and would score again about 11 minutes later, while Oliver Wahlstrom, Kieffer Bellows, and JG Pageau scored the other three goals. Ilya Sorokin had another strong game despite giving up 3 goals (and one was off Noah Dobson’s skate) and made a few critical saves.
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It was a very uneventful first period, with most of the action coming off Ottawa’s two power plays. Zdeno Chara took the first Islanders penalty 5 minutes in for hooking, but the Isles killed off that penalty.
Adam Pelech went to the box next, for another hooking call on the weaker side, and the Islanders lucked out a bit as a Josh Norris shot that had Sorokin beat hit the post, helping the Isles kill off that penalty.
Josh Bailey took a one timer that was blocked, leading to an Ottawa 2 on 1 the other way, and Sorokin made a big save on Tim Stützle to keep the game scoreless.
Just three minutes in, the captain scored his 5th of the season right from his office. Lee got the puck out in front, shot it wide, but picked up his own rebound to score and give the Islanders the lead.
Lee with the screen, the shot, the rebound, the goal, and relief. pic.twitter.com/kPmHnVpzZX— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) December 8, 2021
The Islanders then went to the power play, with Dillon Heatherington going to the box for hooking. The Senators killed that power play, and Sorokin had to stop a good shot from Brady Tkachuk right in front.
Then, Scott Mayfield took a careless high sticking penalty that became a double minor for cutting Norris and drawing quite a bit of blood. Norris himself would score the power play goal that tied the game up, but the Islanders were able to kill the rest of the time. Zach Parise had a shorthanded breakaway but his backhand shot was saved by Filip Gustavsson.
But the game wouldn’t be tied for long as Oliver Wahlstrom scored a nifty backhand shot to make it 2-1.
Rest of the NHL: We got the scouting report on Wahlstrom, wicked wrist shot.— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) December 8, 2021
Wahlstrom: Cool, check out my backhand pic.twitter.com/ZmHIPRkrch
About 20 seconds later, Anders Lee would get his second of the game, putting the Islanders up 3-1. Barzal corralled a weird bounce off the glass following Mayfield’s shot and got it in front, where Lee was able to push the puck into the net.
Professor Lee is currently available for office hours for his students pic.twitter.com/P9UjnqZIPP— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) December 8, 2021
Late in the second, Stützle hit Anthony Beauvillier and Noah Dobson took exception, and the two got matching roughing penalties, plus an additional one for Dobson for completely unknown reasons. The Islanders were able to kill the partial penalty off heading into the third.
The Isles then completed their penalty kill, keeping the game 3-1.
Zach Parise nearly set up Cal Clutterbuck for a goal, and then Clutterbuck made a great defensive play to break up a potential Senators 2 on 1.
Then, Wahlstrom made a behind the back pass to Austin Czarnik on the goal line, and Czarnik found Kieffer Bellows in front, who shot the puck past Gustavsson to make it 4-1, for Bellows’ first of the season.
Bellows' first of the season is a beauty!! #Isles pic.twitter.com/8i1TdfTtdy— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) December 8, 2021
Just a couple of minutes later, Nick Holden would make it 4-2 with his first of the season for Ottawa, when his shot bounced in off of Dobson’s skate.
After a whistle, both Tkachuk and Clutterbuck got penalties, Tkachuk for roughing and Clutterbuck for unsportsmanlike conduct, and JG Pageau won the faceoff on the 4 on 4, getting the puck to Mayfield, who shot the puck, forcing Gustavsson into the initial save. Pageau picked up the rebound and scored to make it 5-2.
Pager calls for it, tucks it, and the celly pic.twitter.com/zwDw8Beg2G— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) December 8, 2021
Kyle Palmieri had his best chance of the night as he went streaking towards the net, but was tripped by Artem Zub, sending the Islanders to the power play. Unfortunately, Alex Formenton would score shorthanded for Ottawa, making it 5-3 and setting up a vaguely nervy ending to the hockey game. The Isles were able to shut the door, though, and collected their first win since November 6th.
- Well, it feels good to win!
- It also feels good to see Pageau starting to get hot (he scored in Sunday’s game as well) and to see Lee back on the scoreboard.
- The Austin Czarnik call up seems to have added some stability to the Isles’ lineup even with both Brock Nelson and Casey Cizikas out. Maybe it’s the familiarity from having him around on the taxi squad all last season? Kinda wish they had called him up a little sooner since he seems to fit in pretty well. Nice assist on Bellows’ goal, plus a secondary on Wahlstrom’s tonight.
- In honor of playing against former Isles head coach, now Senators assistant coach Jack Capuano, I’m gonna have to call out some passengers - Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Bailey, and Kyle Palmieri have still been invisible for really large stretches, and didn’t really do much to get out of that funk here in Ottawa. If the Isles are going to get back into the playoff race, those three, who were expected to have top six-level production this year, have to get going.
Next, the Islanders head back to UBS Arena to take on the Nashville Predators. In their previous meeting, the Islanders lost a game they probably should have won in a shootout in the midst of the 13 game road trip. After winning for the first time in a month, the Isles will be looking for both their first win at UBS Arena and their first win in America since late October against Vegas (the win in November was against Winnipeg in Winnipeg, believe it or not)!