The dream of an undefeated season has dissipated. But the dream of points in every game remains alive and well!
The New York Islanders lost in overtime a spirited, back-and-forth, offensive battle with the New Jersey Devils. The Isles scored first but took too many penalties and let the Devils take the lead, forcing the Isles to chase the rest of the game.
Yet they erased every one-goal deficit they faced to push it to overtime, including tying it up 4-4 with the goalie pulled and with just over a minute on the clock. Though they dropped it in extra time and their penalty kill was atrocious without Scott Mayfield—four goals against, yeesh—their resilience is encouraging, as is their five-on-five game. The Devils have a potent offense, but they contained them at five-on-five aside from a few dangerous chances which they’re always going to create. The penalty kill is usually good, so we can expect it to rebound from this outlier.
Also encouraging: Both the Islanders’ top two centers scored two goals. As fans of this team, we’ve become accustomed to these feats by Brock Nelson, especially in Brocktober. We love Brock. This is known.
But considering how much he struggled to find the back of the net when he first arrived last January, it was a breath of fresh air to see Bo Horvat score twice. Each goal was critical to the game, and each goal scored from down low, where he makes his living.
Now, the Islanders play their first back-to-back of the season and hit the road for the first time as well, hopping a short flight to Western New York for a visit with the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo has stumbled out of the gate this season despite the fawning they received from the wider hockey media. Much like the Devils last year, I feel for their fans powering through their playoff droughts, but the constant attention they get has quickly become annoying.
Hopefully, the Isles can send them into a full tailspin tonight. FIG Picks go here.
About last night:
- Bearing in mind that they took too many penalties and got burned on most of them, it is admirable that the Islanders snared a point from this game. [LHH]
- Special teams will have to improve going forward. But despite giving up five goals, Ilya Sorokin was wonderful. [3 Takeaways]
- Four power play goals against are quite the anomaly. [Newsday] They can’t take that many penalties if they want to win. [NY Post]
- A preview of tonight’s game.
- It looks like it will be Semyon Varlamov’s first time in net since April 1. [Newsday]
News and notes:
- Stefen Rosner breaks down how strong Sorokin looked last night. He made a couple of highlight-reel saves. [THN]
- Mayfield skated yesterday, but he didn’t play last night. No word yet on his status for tonight. [Isles DTD]
- Noah Dobson and Sebastian Aho are getting better with experience in their own zone. [Newsday]
- The Islanders are playing faster this season. [Newsday]
- Ethan Sears confirmed that Zach Parise is, indeed, skating back in Minnesota. [NY Post]
- On Tuesday night, the Islanders honored the Farmingdale marching band, still reeling from its horrific bus accident last month. [Islanders]
- Andrew Gross hosted old friend Barry Trotz on the latest episode of Island Ice.
Only one other game last night besides the one we watched: The Columbus Blue Jackets hosted and beat the Calgary Flames.
- I am getting old, part XVII: Anze Kopitar is on the verge of becoming the all-time games-played leader for the Los Angeles Kings. [NHL]
- Robby Fabbri? Injured? Surely you jest. The Detroit Red Wings forward should be out only four weeks this time, and it’s allegedly not related to his usual knee issues. Not sure if that’s better or worse for him. [NHL]
- In the last couple of years, save percentages have been on the decline despite better goaltending. It turns out that the skaters are getting better, too. [NHL]
- New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad and his wife had their first child this summer, so they’re going all-out for Halloween. [NHL]
- Next weekend, the Edmonton Oilers host the Calgary Flames outdoors in the 2023 Heritage Classic. Alberta is getting amped. [NHL]