The Islanders started the game guns blazing, opening the scoring just nine seconds in. From there, despite getting outshot throughout the game, the Islanders were comfortable and the offense kept chipping in, with parts of the top nine involved in every goal.
Ilya Sorokin’s shutout was spoiled late in the third, but his 37 save effort was impressive. It wasn’t a perfect game for the Islanders, but they earned their sixth straight win at UBS Arena.
As mentioned, just nine seconds in, Anthony Beauvillier scored to make it 1-0. His goal was set up by Anders Lee, who got away with slashing to get the puck and then get it to Beau. It was the second fastest goal in Islanders history, behind Bryan Trottier’s goal against the Boston Bruins just five seconds in.
Thomas Greiss had a couple of saves on Mat Barzal, and Casey Cizikas blocked a shot from Pius Suter (former Islander preseason tryout member) which sent him heading towards the bench, though he appeared to be fine throughout the rest of the game.
Then, Barzal got the puck from Lucas Raymond in the defensive zone and turned on the jets, skating past him and Twitter-suggested trade partner Filip Hronek before making a pass to Oliver Wahlstrom, who sniped it past Greiss.
Barzy goes the DISTANCE— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) March 25, 2022
Wahlstrom caps it off pic.twitter.com/n1U54GntlC
Right after, Wahlstrom was called for a holding penalty, and just 20 seconds later, JG Pageau went to the box for crosschecking, setting up a length 5 on 3 opportunity for the Red Wings. Sorokin made some huge saves on that penalty kill, and the PK unit of Casey Cizikas, Adam Pelech, and Zdeno Chara was near-flawless, doing their best to keep the Red Wings’ chances limited while they were stuck on the ice for almost the entire duration of the 5 on 3.
Sorokin had no stick while fighting off some chances from the Red Wings, and the best of those attempts went wide.
Wahlstrom had a partial breakaway chance but was going towards goal wide and only got a weak backhand shot off, while Kieffer Bellows had a quick shot saved.
The Isles nearly made it 3-0 when the puck almost bounced off Lee and in.
Then, the Islanders would head to the power play when Taro Hirose was called for roughing, and after the Red Wings cleared, Barzal was able to carry the puck back in and then get it to Lee, who found Brock Nelson, who shot it past Greiss while falling down to make it 3-0.
Kyle Palmieri put a shot off Greiss’ shoulder, and Wahlstrom was pushed into Greiss and called for goaltender interference, but the Islanders killed that penalty.
Just under a minute and a half into the third, Josh Bailey would make it 4-0, as Pageau passed the puck off to Palmieri, who got it to Bailey, who scored from the faceoff dot past Alex Nedeljkovic, who came in for Greiss (possibly for injury related reasons, as he wasn’t on the bench after.)
Hilariously, Andy Greene beat Tyler Bertuzzi in a foot race to get an icing call, showing that sometimes the vets still have it.
Zdeno Chara had a shot saved as he still searches for his first Isles goal since the 90s (more on that soon) and Sorokin made a save on Red Wings star rookie Moritz Seider.
But, the shutout would end as Suter got a tip on a Hronek shot to make it 4-1.
And then just about 30 seconds later, Nelson would get on the board again to make it 5-1, after he got past Marc Staal, taking the puck with him, passing it off to Lee and then Beauvillier before getting it back and scoring.
But Sam Gagner would make it 5-2 after Sebastian Aho turned the puck over in the neutral zone. After that goal, Detroit pulled their goalie for the extra skater.
Sorokin saved a Dylan Larkin shot, and then Chara would try for the empty net, just missing for icing. Lee nearly got the puck to Nelson for the hat trick, but Nelson couldn’t get a good shot off and was then pushed down to the ice, separating him from the puck.
Bertuzzi had a shot saved, and Chara again tried for the empty net, but the puck hit the outside of the net and went wide. The goal would elude Chara, but the Islanders would close the game out and win 5-2.
- Anthony Beauvillier must have the quietest 10 points in 10 games. He’s definitely been in more of a supportive role playing with Nelson and Lee, but it’s been good for him.
- Brock Nelson extended his career high to 29 goals. Pretty likely he’ll hit 30 this year, which would make him the only 30 goal scorer for the Islanders since Trotz took over. Wild stat, but it’s true!
- Barzal looked more back to his usual self skating-wise tonight, which is good to see. Definitely wouldn’t want him playing through an injury in a dead season.
- Red Wings debutant Chance Pearson didn’t score his first NHL goal against us, which is a big win, but his dad, Scott, played two games for the Islanders at the same time as Zdeno Chara, who played tonight against his son. That’s just kind of crazy, and I’m pretty sure that’s not the first NHL father-son pairing he’s played with/against.
- It was good to see Thomas Greiss again, though unfortunate that he had a bad game/is having a bad season. He played a key role in some major Isles moments, and was part of some great goaltending duos on a team that had struggled to gain stability in that position for years. That 2016 series win against Florida is just as much to his credit as John Tavares’, and I’ll never forget the way he shut the door and gave the team a steady presence in Game 7 against the Flyers in the bubble.
Next, the Islanders play an early Saturday afternoon game against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. 12:30pm start time is a little weird, but it’s been a weird season, so why not?