This was a weird one! We found out in warmups that JG Pageau wouldn’t be playing tonight for unstated reasons, with a Komarov-Czarnik-Wahlstrom line in place of where Michael Dal Colle and Pageau would normally line up. Then, we learned that Pageau was not even on the 23 man roster at all, again, for unstated reasons. Noah Dobson took warmups in his regular spot... only to be pulled out of the game, also for unstated reasons. There was a delay in starting the game as they checked out the teamsheets... as we learned that Sebastian Aho would be taking his place.
Finally, we got an answer on JG Pageau at least, that he was on the NHL’s COVID protocol list. It wasn’t until the third period that the team confirmed this, along with adding Noah Dobson to that list, too.
So anyway, onto the game...
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Kieffer Bellows continued his hot streak, opening the scoring early when last-minute addition Sebastian Aho’s shot hit off his arm and past Scott Wedgewood.
The good looks keep coming for Kieffer Bellows pic.twitter.com/LKY4lpC6qa— W W W W W W W W W (@IslesMSGN) March 14, 2021
Shortly after, the Isles went to the penalty kill when Andy Greene put the puck over the glass and was called for delay of game.
Janne Kuokkanen continued his hot streak, too, and scored on the power play to tie the game. Aho then drew a penalty on Kuokkanen, but the Isles couldn’t score on that power play, continuing their special teams futility against the Devils. Nick Leddy took a slashing penalty, and Miles Wood cut the Devils’ power play slightly short by taking a tripping penalty of his own.
With 1.7 seconds left in the first period, Brock Nelson scored from distance against the wall to make it 2-1. Super weird goal, but the Isles were happy to take the lead into the second.
Oh! Did you say there's 1 second left??? Yeah Brock the Rock can make that shot pic.twitter.com/2hpBVjFTI4— W W W W W W W W W (@IslesMSGN) March 14, 2021
Matt Martin drew a penalty on Dmitri Kulikov, but the Islanders still can’t buy a goal on the man advantage.
Later, a terrible turnover by Brock Nelson forced Ilya Sorokin to make a huge save, one of his bright spots for the game.
Cal Clutterbuck left the game in the second, seemingly injured after a hit, and putting the Isles in a tough position already down several regulars, but he returned for the third period.
Yegor Sharangovich tied the game after a bad Aho clearing attempt gave the puck right back to the Devils.
At the end of the period, Bellows fought for a loose puck near Wedgewood, and was put into a headlock by Damon Severson, yet somehow both players went to the box for matching roughing calls.
The weirdest part of the period was the official announcement from the Islanders that Pageau and Dobson were on the COVID protocol list. It really highlights how unclear the NHL (and many other leagues) have made what qualifies getting someone on the list, and why games are allowed to go on. Or, more importantly, how a player who qualifies would be able to suit up for a game and get on the ice for warmups!
The highlights of the period otherwise were Scott Wedgewood robbing Josh Bailey with a wide open net, and another power play opportunity for the Islanders - again, they didn’t score.
Onto overtime tied 2-2!
The Isles lose the opening faceoff, and PK Subban scores to end the game.... or..... actually, the goal was ruled offside after a lengthy review. Jesper Bratt had entered the zone early, and so a league-initiated review deemed there to be no goal.
Nelson then took a penalty in OT, which could have spelled game over multiple times for the Islanders, but they were able to kill the penalty and send the game to a shootout.
In the shootout, the Devils went first, and Gusev scored, while Bratt, Zacha, and Hughes were denied. Eberle and Barzal didn’t score, while Anthony Beauvillier was able to keep the Isles alive for Oliver Wahlstrom’s attempt, which he ripped past Wedgewood to win the game.
Did you think we'd just leave without showing you Wahlstrom's GAME WINNING GOAL!? pic.twitter.com/bVV77cTOX5— W W W W W W W W W (@IslesMSGN) March 15, 2021
Nine game win streak, here we go!
Next, the hard part of the schedule - the Isles travel to Capital One Arena to play the Washington Capitals, a foe we haven’t seen since January 28. The Caps are in second in the division and 4 points back, with two games in hand. Every game has felt like a must-win this season, but this one feels especially important after cleaning up points against some of the weaker teams in the division. And they’ll have to do all that potentially without Pageau and Dobson. Should be fun!