Nothing seems to phase the New York Islanders right now. The last few days have thrown a few unwelcome surprises at them, yet they keep swatting those aside. Even when it looks like they’ve lost, as in overtime last night, they win.
But it hasn’t been simply luck; they’re making their own luck, as the motto goes, such as the impressive 4-on-3 penalty kill in overtime last night, Anthony Beauvillier’s move to save the game in the shootout, and Oliver Wahlstrom’s absolutely lethal shot to win it.
With tougher opponents ahead, the Islanders needed to make the most of their pair of three-game sets against the Sabres and Devils. (Which sandwiched their latest win over the Bruins, of course, but that doesn’t fit #thenarrative.) From the six games against the East’s doormats they acquired the max 12 points, including five regulation wins. They also kept their streaks alive at nine wins in a row and 12 in a row with at least a point.
Granted, the second half of the month could really stink, with injury, Covid, the schedule and simple odds conspiring against them. But for now we’ll just appreciate the way things are going, come Covid or high water.
- About last night: Where to begin? It was an odd one. [LHH | Newsday | That’s quietly six wins in a row for Sorokin: Isles | NHL | AP]
- Jenny captured this sequence in the recap, but it was a strange afternoon: J-G Pageau and Noah Dobson missed the game due to being placed on the Covid Protocol list — very late, it seemed, thanks to “discrepancies.” [LHH | Newsday | Athletic | Sportsnet | The day’s 5 p.m. list did not include Dobson]
- That wasn’t the only roster theater, as pretty much as feared, Anders Lee was placed on LTIR. The Isles could have room to add if he’s out for the regular season. [Newsday | NHL]
I don’t know about you, but I was just mighty relieved to confirm that Sebastian Aho is alive. “That was a lot of fun. I haven’t played hockey in, pretty much a year.”
"Nights like this when you get to play. We all want to get out there, but unfortunately, we can't all play all the time. I'm just trying to stay ready when my chance comes and tonight was the night."— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 15, 2021
Aho & Leddy ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/REunOHJJ6C
Final #Isles 5v5 metrics from this evenings game via NST. Ho hum, basically.— Carey Haber (@habermetrics) March 15, 2021
83.57% High Danger
68.54% Expected Goals
Just another dominant performance. But... after a million games against Buffalo and New Jersey, it’s on to some tougher comp.
Thus Spake Trotzathustra
Trotz loved the character effort amid the late lineup changes, called the “next man up” drill a “good learning process for the group,” and of course he praised that Pelech-Mayfield-Cizikas-Sorokin penalty kill in OT.
"Great PK in OT by Mayfield, Pelech, Cizikas and Ilya. Gave us a chance to get to that shootout. They scored off their first shot and I thought Ilya really held the fort after that and I thought it was a really huge goal by Beau when the pressure was on."— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 15, 2021
Trotz ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/vv60Sn8CJ4
The Islanders and Devils were the only East Division teams in action Sunday, but other NHL scores included the Leafs falling to the Senators, tee hee.
- The Senators included a surprise start in goal as Matt Murray was injured in warmups. [NHL]
- The Islanders next head to D.C. for one game against the Capitals, then three against the Flyers. What can we learn as Philly just lost two in a row to that squad? [BSH]
- You’ll be shocked to learn Larry Brooks says the ESPN/Disney deal is all about the money, and don’t think you know whether or not Lou would bid for a “me” guy like Taylor Hall. [Post]