The Islanders went 1-1-1 in three games played this week. This week featured a home win against the Coyotes, a home overtime loss to the Devils and a loss in their first road game against the Sabres.
Winning Defensive Performance Against the Coyotes
This 1-0 win over the Coyotes was the ultimate demonstration of Islanders hockey. Defense dominated this game, with the Islanders holding the visitors to just 14 shots on goal. The penalty kill went a perfect 3/3, along with the team killing off the Coyotes’ empty net opportunity. Sorokin picked up his first shutout of the season in the win and the 17th of his career. That 17th shutout put him past Rick DiPietro for third place on the Islanders all-time shutout list.
The lone Islanders goal was a second period power play marker from Mat Barzal, who one-timed a shot in from the circle. While the team didn’t register a 5-on-5 goal in this game, they had plenty of good looks. They were just hindered by Karel Vejmelka’s impressive 33-save performance.
Islanders Salvage Point in OT Loss to Devils
There was a lot to like and a lot to be concerned about in this 5-4 overtime loss to the Devils. Starting with the positives, Brock Nelson continued to own the month of October, scoring twice in this game. Bo Horvat came up extremely clutch as well, scoring two game-tying goals to help the Islanders secure a point out of this game. In 5-on-5 play, the Islanders had another solid defensive game, keeping the Devils off the board in that regard. This included several big-time saves from Sorokin, who made 34 total stops in the game.
The major issue was the team’s discipline and PK unit. The Islanders took five total penalties against a Devils team with a strong power play unit. They killed the first penalty of the game, and it all went downhill from there. Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Toffoli, Luke Hughes and Jack Hughes scored on the ensuing four power play chances.
In overtime, Jack Hughes ripped in the Devils’ only even-strength goal after some curious defense against him to win the game. The Islanders will take the point, but with better special teams play they could’ve very well had two.
Offense Goes Quiet in Loss to Sabres
Saturday night featured the Islanders’ first road game of the year and Varlamov’s first start in goal. They took a scoreless tie late into the second period, and things completely started to unravel. Jeff Skinner and Mattias Samuelsson both scored on strong shots in the final minutes of the second to put the Sabres up by two.
Dylan Cozens then opened the third with a power play marker, putting the Islanders in a 3-0 deficit. On offense, the Islanders were completely stifled up until the late third period. Noah Dobson one-timed a shot past Eric Comrie at 18:39 in the third for his first of the season. Comrie stopped all of the other 24 Islanders shots, with the Islanders power play also going scoreless in this one.
Three Stars of the Week
1. Bo Horvat (2 game-tying goals vs. Devils, assist)
2. Mat Barzal (Game-winning PPG vs. Coyotes, assist)
3. Kyle Palmieri (3 assists)
Featured image courtesy of NHL.com via Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images
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