This was a pretty nice bounceback win for the New York Islanders after a wildly disappointing loss to Los Angeles. With a dominant first period followed by two more tepid ones, the Islanders just seemed content to sit back and collect goals when the opportunity struck. A bit of a boring game on a late Sunday afternoon, in all honesty, but an important two points in the wild card fight.
Josh Bailey came back into the lineup, slotting in on the fourth line (and moving around a bit at times) in place of Ross Johnston.
22 seconds in, Brenden Dillon took a tripping penalty, and the Islanders appeared to score on that powerplay. Noah Dobson’s shot from the point was deflected by Anders Lee past David Rittich. However... Lee’s deflection came off a high stick, and so the goal was taken off the board.
The Jets would kill that penalty. Later, Sebastian Aho would take a hooking penalty, but it would be Bo Horvat getting on the board. He put a shot past Rittich that he didn’t seem to expect, and put the Islanders up 1-0 with his shorthanded goal.
Arnaud Durandeau nearly picked up his first NHL goal in style with a backhander batted out of the air, but Rittich was able to stop that one, as the Isles closed out the frame up 1-0 and up in shots 12-1.
Less than 5 minutes into the second, Alexander Romanov doubled the Isles lead a shot from the point screened by Matt Martin.
Horvat took a tripping penalty, and on the power play, Josh Morrissey took a shot and earned loud, sarcastic cheers from the Winnipeg crowd.
Varlamov made a big save on Pierre-Luc Dubois, and after that Dubois practically forced Scott Mayfield into a fight, and both got five minute majors.
Mark Scheifele and Brock Nelson both shot wide on two good opportunities at either end of the ice, and Rittich made a save on a Matt Martin (!) breakaway chance.
Despite Winnipeg mostly being in control this period, Zach Parise was able to turn things around, taking a hit to get the puck up to Nelson, who made a great move through the legs of Kyle Connor to get a clean shot that he scored on to make it 3-0.
Varlamov needed to make a few good saves early, and Horvat had a backhander attempt saved by Rittich.
Romanov was called for an incredibly soft interference penalty, sending Winnipeg to the power play, and Varlamov had to save a really good Kyle Connor shot in the slot, and the Islanders killed the penalty.
With over 4:30 left in the period, the Jets pulled their goalie, and put a ton of pressure on the Islanders, but ultimately Adam Pelech would pick up the empty netter on a clearing attempt, and the Islanders would close out the win with four goals and a 23 save Varlamov shutout.
Adam Pelech uses the boards to clear the puck and it finds the back of the net! pic.twitter.com/Hr0G3CXcQh— Isles on MSGSN (@IslesMSGN) February 26, 2023
Next, the Islanders head to Minnesota to take on the Wild at 8pm on Tuesday. Every point matters now for sneaking into the playoffs, so every game feels like a big one.