I won’t get fooled again into thinking this team has turned a corner. However, I will say that if they can keep playing third periods that way—and ideally not at the expense of the second period—the New York Islanders will win plenty of games.
The Islanders, hosting the Metro-basement-dwelling Columbus Blue Jackets, once again blew a lead while in a temporary tailspin and actually fell behind in the second period. But they got themselves together and managed to notch three goals toward the end of the period to regain the lead. They also provided a cushion to hold onto it, despite an early third-period goal for Columbus, and then added three more goals to put the game away. With the win and other results flast night,
Tomorrow’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, who may be the best team in the Western Conference, and are undefeated on the road and just set the record for a road start, will be a huge test for the Isles. Frankly, I’d be okay if they just got the game to overtime. A win would be very impressive. Maybe LA is due for a road loss.
About last night:
- As Dom says, they don’t really get credit for taking care of business like they were supposed to, but it’s good to get the win against a bad and wounded team; as noted below, the Islanders may have caught the Sharks at the wrong time. [LHH]
- Mathew Barzal had another four-point night—he’s up to 11 points in his last four games. And Bo Horvat notched three points, including two goals 20 seconds apart, in the third period, extending his point streak to five games. [NHL]
- The power play remains hot, and the Islanders were opportunistic in the second period in spite of not really playing well. [3 Takeaways]
- While they let go of the 1-0 lead, they held the lead in the third period, which is where the problem has been. [Newsday]
- It was the seventh straight game that Noah Dobson played 25 minutes or more. [NYI Skinny]
- The Islanders are good. They’re also bad. They’re a confounding team, especially because if they can figure out a couple of things, they would have a lot of wins. [The Athletic]
- Semyon Varlamov has gotten more starts this season. That seems to be intentional, and for good reason: Varlamov has actually outplayed Ilya Sorokin, who has been very good but not all-world like last year, and playing Varlamov more now saves Sorokin for later. [Newsday]
- The Islanders have partnered with Northwell, the NYRA, and USA Hockey to create the first public rink park outside the arena. It will open December 27. [Islanders]
Last night’s NHL scores include the Detroit Red Wings spoiling Patrick Kane’s debut and blowing both a four-goal lead and another one-goal lead before losing in overtime to the red-hot San Jose Sharks. Also, the Carolina Hurricanes carried a 2-0 lead into the third period but lost 3-2 in regulation to the Calgary Flames. It’s an epidemic.
- It was the Flames’ sixth third-period comeback win of the season. [Sportsnet]
- Also, Joseph Woll made 29 saves for the Toronto Maple Leafs in their regulation win over the Ottawa Senators, but he left the game early without putting any weight on his left leg. Martin Jones is now the starter. [NHL]
- Tyson Barrie was frank about his future with the Nashville Predators on the heels of getting healthy scratched again. [NHL]