After a miserable month of hockey, the Islanders snapped their 11 game losing streak on Tuesday night. The win came on the road against the Ottawa Senators at a final score of 5-3. It was a great win for the Islanders, and hopefully it could spark some kind of momentum for the team.
What Went Well
The offensive attack was fantastic in this one. Anders Lee got the night started with a classic Anders Lee goal. Working in front of the net, Lee took a rebounded shot from Josh Bailey, shot it, and then deposited his own rebound. This shows Lee’s dependence on a shooting winger, and should be something the Islanders address if they want more production out of him. Oliver Wahlstrom continued his hot stretch, getting in front of the net and deking out Filip Gustavsson for a backhanded goal to make it 2-1. He’s now just one goal away from tying the injured Brock Nelson for the team lead in goals.
Lee had a bit of luck for his second goal, taking a puck that went high off the boards and pushing it by Gustavsson. A rare goal from Kieffer Bellows followed by a goal from Jean-Gabriel Pageau for the second straight game was enough for the Islanders to come away with the win.
After having trouble finishing five on five goals, the Islanders came away with five even strength goals in this one. It was the perfect offensive performance, they were aggressive and created great opportunities in the zone. It’s also worth mentioning another stellar performance from Ilya Sorokin in net, with a 30 save performance. Most notably he extended out to stop Tim Stutzle from scoring on an open net and giving the Senators a first period lead. That save wound up being pivotal for the Islanders, who managed to score the game’s first goal themselves.
Room for Improvement
Despite the win, not everything about this game was perfect. Scott Mayfield has a legit discipline problem that keeps getting the Islanders in trouble. A hooking penalty from Mayfield on Sunday led to a power play goal for the Chicago Blackhawks. This time, a high sticking penalty that drew blood from Josh Norris resulted in a double minor. Not only did the Senators get the tying power play goal off of this penalty, but also did so in enough time to still have two minutes on the power play. This has been a routine problem for Mayfield even before this season that he has to work on. Without a solid penalty kill, the Senators could’ve very well taken a lead on that double minor.
In addition, it wasn’t a great night for the power play unit, which went 0/2. This could be excused for this game given how red hot the unit has been over the last two. What can’t be excused is the sloppy work on the second of their two power plays. A bad turnover led to a short handed two on one goal for Alex Formenton to make it a two goal game late. This marks the fourth short handed goal the team has allowed this season after allowing just one throughout all of last season. To not score on the power play is one thing, but to lose a goal on the power play is a very significant problem. The team has to play smarter with the puck on power play opportunities as short handed goals could present major momentum shifts in the game
The Next Game
While this win was important and very enjoyable, the Islanders still have a lot to prove. All this win proved is that they can beat up on the basement teams. Up next is a home matchup with the Nashville Predators on Thursday. The Predators are third place in the Central division and beat the Islanders 3-2 in a shootout in their first matchup. The Islanders played a relatively strong game against the Predators in Nashville in October. They need to ride the momentum from this game and come up with another strong performance against this talented Predators team. A win in Thursday’s game would be a huge confidence booster after a really rough stretch of hockey. It would also finally send the fans at UBS Arena home with something to cheer about.
Featured image courtesy of Yahoo! Sports
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