This game was 2-2 after the second! The boring, can’t score New York Islanders exploded for 5 unanswered goals in the third against the East Division-leading Boston Bruins. Adam Pelech and Mat Barzal scored in the first, and then Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Eberle, JG Pageau, Anders Lee, and Oliver Wahlstrom piled it on for the win.
The only thing making it just a little bit bittersweet is that all 7 goals came against an increasingly frustrated Jaroslav Halak, one of the better goalies the Islanders have had in my lifetime. But a big win will hopefully give the current Islanders some momentum as they move back into third in the division.
You’d be forgiven for not expecting this outcome in general, but especially not after Nick Ritchie opened the scoring for Boston just a minute into the game. But then two minutes later, Adam Pelech tied the game with his first of the season.
Nothing like a quick answer— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) February 26, 2021
Pelech ties it at 1! pic.twitter.com/vCf4NzN4TD
Jack Studnicka almost gave the Bruins the lead again when he had a ton of time alone with a practically empty net as Semyon Varlamov struggled to get back, but he fumbled the puck and hit it off the crossbar instead. Then, Halak made a good save on a great Anders Lee deflection, so the goalies did their best to keep it a tie game.
And then Nick Leddy made a great pass to spring Mat Barzal on a breakaway with Jordan Eberle. Barzal really never looked to pass, and just ripped it past Halak to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead.
Cal Clutterbuck wasn’t on the bench to start the second, and the Islanders would later officially announce that he wouldn’t return.
Anthony Beauvillier took a penalty after mishandling the puck and then tripped David Pastrnak, sending the Bruins to the power play, and the Isles killed that.
A crazy 2+ minute shift in the Bruins’ D zone featured a lot of chances and great play by the Isles, but no goals, and that pressure ended when Barzal turned the puck over to Jake DeBrusk who had a breakaway, but Varlamov saved his shot.
The Isles then went on the power play when Craig Smith was called for hooking, but the Bruins killed it.
However, the Bruins tied the game when Matt Martin’s backchecking attempt to deflect the puck ended up deflecting it past Varlamov instead.
Varlamov made a good save on Charlie Coyle to keep it 2-2 early in the period.
Somehow, Craig Smith escaped without a penalty after he lost his helmet, picked it up, and skated back into the play, all while just holding his helmet, instead of putting it back on. I’m pretty sure I remember multiple times the Isles were called for penalties for not immediately putting their helmets back on, but...
It wouldn’t matter anyway, after Barzal set up a Beauvillier shot that Halak saved, but it left a rebound that Trent Frederic initially picked up, only for Beau to steal it from him and backhand past Halak to give the Isles a 3-2 lead.
BEAUVILLIER— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) February 26, 2021
We'll take that lead please pic.twitter.com/eYtRyaLOtD
5 minutes later, Barzal and Eberle would go on another 2 on 1, and this time Barzal would pass it off to Eberle. Eberle faked the return pass and instead roofed it past Halak, who broke his stick against the goal in frustration, resulting in a small delay as the Islanders ice crew cleaned up the splinters around the goal.
Eberle with a beauty with the pass from Barzy— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) February 26, 2021
Halák breaks his stick.
We're rolling now baby!! pic.twitter.com/seRASACYuR
Casey Cizikas then took a penalty for delay of game, but the floodgates had opened. JG Pageau was able to force a turnover and then broke away, and scored to make it 5-2.
J.G. Pageau is the shorthanded king! pic.twitter.com/vr0e4s5R4J— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) February 26, 2021
Two minutes after that, Noah Dobson took a shot that left a rebound right in the crease by Halak, and Anders Lee got there to poke it home and make it 6-2.
And two minutes after that, Oliver Wahlstrom would score his second of the season, and the first “real” goal of his NHL career (his first was a weird deflection off a defender). Ryan Pulock took a shot that left a rebound, and Wahlstrom picked it up and sent it into the toy department.
The Isles would win the game 7-2, with their first five goal period since 2018 against the Red Wings.
Next, the Islanders take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in back to back games this weekend. The Penguins have won the last 3 of 4 matchups this season, and with a huge win tonight, the Isles will be looking at bringing that positive momentum into the weekend’s games, with four huge points up for grabs in the back to back.