In their return to UBS Arena after the west coast road trip, the New York Islanders did not disappoint, putting up seven goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Zach Parise opened the scoring for the Islanders, and goals from Fasching, Clutterbuck, Holmstrom, Dobson, and Lee rounded out the seven. Ilya Sorokin was outstanding, making some genuinely incredible saves to help the Islanders get this result.
But it wasn’t all good news - Brock Nelson took a high hit from Noel Acciari and didn’t return to the game after, which is a major concern for the team going forward, and as of writing this there hasn’t been an update on his health.
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It was really the Ilya Sorokin show for the Islanders early on, as he made two massive stops on Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews to keep the game tied. After all that effort, though, a weird goal would go in off a Sam Lafferty deflection, making it 1-0 Maple Leafs.
Then, Ilya Sorokin put up the save of the year, (something it feels like he does multiple times per season!) robbing Erik Gustafsson of what looked like a surefire goal.
ILYA SOROKIN pic.twitter.com/FEPeWNKUxn— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 22, 2023
Then, the aforementioned Noel Acciari hit, which went unpenalized (!!) and took Brock Nelson out of the game. I’m not sure if he’ll end up getting called by the Department of Player Safety, but it certainly seems like this should’ve been boarding, at least??
Acciari's hit on Brock Nelson sends him to the locker room pic.twitter.com/pQSe6iKpEd— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 22, 2023
Alex Romanov took a tripping penalty, sending the Leafs to the power play, but barely 20 seconds later, Zach Parise drew a penalty on Matthews, so we had some 4 on 4 skating for a few seconds to close out the first period.
And then Parise would be the one to tie the game just 30 seconds into the second period off a great pass from Scott Mayfield.
TIED GAME pic.twitter.com/i6iO9KpUvc— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 22, 2023
Noah Dobson was tripped and so the Islanders went to the power play. The best chance of that was a David Kampf shorthanded attempt, which was saved by Sorokin to maintain the tie game.
The Leafs took momentum off the bad power play, and the Islanders had to survive a few sloppy icings, but once they did, it was goals time.
Hudson Fasching got the puck off a turnover and ripped it past Samsonov to make it 2-1.
two zero makes it two one pic.twitter.com/y6SL8kemWE— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 22, 2023
And then, a few minutes later, Cal Clutterbuck tipped a Ryan Pulock shot to make it 3-1.
DEFLECTION FOR CLUTTERBUCK pic.twitter.com/wybw0zeSdq— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 22, 2023
Just three and a half minutes into the third period, Mitch Marner made it 3-2, and for a moment, it seemed like this game might be one of those stressful ones as we’d watch the Islanders do their best to hold onto a narrow one goal lead with far too much time left in the game. Instead, Clutterbuck near immediately scored to make it 4-2, sniping the puck past Samsonov and into the toy department.
A little shopping in the Toy Department for Clutterbuck tonight! pic.twitter.com/ocY2FzYJyN— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 22, 2023
A few minutes later, Simon Holmstrom was able to find the loose puck in a scramble in front of Samsonov to make it 5-2.
HOLMSTROM. pic.twitter.com/iIlZrhv2m7— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 22, 2023
With six minutes (!!) left in the period, the Leafs pulled Samsonov for the extra skater, and Dobson made it 6-2 into the empty net.
With the game finished, Matt Martin challenged Noel Acciari to a fight, in response to the hit on Nelson, but given the mismatch there, it didn’t last very long and probably wasn’t quite what fans were looking for as on ice retribution. Again, maybe the DoPS steps in on it (but I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t at all.)
Then, the Islanders picked up their seventh goal of the night, when Anders Lee deflected a Noah Dobson shot.
Anders Lee finds twine with a redirect on Dobson's shot to put the Islanders up by 5 in the third!#Isles pic.twitter.com/VzMyparf6C— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) March 22, 2023
The Islanders picked up two important points, but have a lot to worry about depending on what we learn about Nelson’s status in the coming days.
Next, the Islanders head to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets on Friday night. It’s been said to death but obviously every game at this point is huge, especially with our biggest rivals for wildcard spots struggling right now. Time to pick up another two points on the road!