The New York Islanders did what they needed to do last night, silencing the San Jose Sharks on the road as they won 4-1. They gave up the first goal, and the goal was not Ilya Sorokin’s finest moment, but he rebounded nicely and didn’t concede another. Meanwhile, the Islanders tied the game before the end of the first period and then exploded in the second period.
The Islanders can now head home to Long Island, having accumulated a 2-1-0 record out in California. They met expectations to keep pace in the playoff race. With eleven games to go, it will be an exciting finish, to say the least.
All smiles heading back to The Island. pic.twitter.com/ex1d4OtAiQ— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 19, 2023
About last night:
- The Islanders lost Sebastian Aho at the end of the first period, and hopefully, he’s okay. But going down to five defensemen didn’t hurt them, as they won easily. [LHH]
- J-G Pageau is getting back to his game, scoring a shorthanded goal to get the Isles on the board and adding an assist to be the First Star. And on top of the shorty, Pulock’s goal came on the power play. [3 Takeaways]
- In fact, all four Isles' goals came from ‘Ps’: Pageau, Kyle Palmieri, Ryan Pulock, and Zach Parise. Palmieri and Parise both had nice deflections, and Pulock unleashed an accurate bomb. [NHL]
- Hudson Fasching got the primary assist on Pulock’s power play blast. [NYI Hockey Now]
- The win put the Isles at 80 points, two ahead of the Penguins for the first wild card and three clear of the hard-charging Panthers. Both teams have two games in hand on the Islanders, though. [Newsday]
- The Islanders are back at nine games over NHL .500, tying their season-best. Also, Pageau’s shorty was his third this season, sixth as an Islander, and 19th of his career, tying him for fifth place among active players. [NYI Skinny]
- Bo Horvat is now officially in a Scoring Drought, with just one goal in the 12 games since Mathew Barzal went down (and that goal came in the first game he was out). But he’s getting chances—last night, he was robbed a couple of times on his team-high five shots on goal—and though he’s frustrated, the Islanders are winning. The chances will fall: Once one goes in, he’ll flood the net. [The Athletic]
- Pierre Engvall didn’t score a goal last night, but he did get an assist, and he’s been hot lately. He’s fitting in well with his new team. [Islanders | Newsday]
- Meanwhile, Josh Bailey was a healthy scratch for the second straight game and the sixth time this season, but he’s trying to remain positive. [Newsday]
- The Islanders are doing what they can to adjust to life without Barzal, and they have been winning games in his absence. Simon Holmstrom has filled in at RW1. [Newsday]
- The B-Isles scored less than a minute into the game, and Ruslan Iskhakov scored another beauty, but they fell 3-2 to the Wolf Pack. [B-Isles]
In last night’s edition of scoreboard-watching, the Devils nearly did us a favor before melting down in the third period. They led the Panthers 2-0 entering the final frame and then gave up three goals in a 2:40 stretch en route to a 4-2 loss, so the Panthers won again. But at least the Penguins got waxed 6-0.
- In another game of some relevance, the Hurricanes trailed the Flyers 4-3 before getting a power play with about seven seconds left. Martin Necas managed to tie the game with 0.3 remaining in regulation, and Sebastian Aho (the Fin) completed a hat trick with the overtime winner. [NHL]
- It was Pride Night in San Jose, and Sharks goalie James Reimer made the decision not to wear the jersey or take warm-ups, and he played backup last night. The Sharks made the right call in making Reimer own it instead of scrapping it for everyone. [The Athletic]
- Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed Reimer and the sale of the Ottawa Senators. [HNIC 32 Thoughts]
- Go behind the scenes of the NHL’s first-ever brother-for-brother trade, when the Flames and Coyotes swapped Ritchies. [The Athletic]
- John Carlson expects to return to the Capitals lineup at some point this season after breaking his face (literally, fractured skull) from a 90-mph shot. [NHL]