The Islanders won three points this week as they try to qualify for the postseason. They lost a shootout to the Wild on the road and beat the Red Wings at home. With the three points gained, the Islanders sit at 72 total points on the season. They still sit at the wild card one spot ahead of the Sabres and Penguins who both have four games in hand over the Islanders.
Islanders Trade For Pierre Engvall
There was no shortage of trades around the league all throughout Tuesday. The Islanders got involved by trading a third round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Pierre Engvall. Engvall is a 26-year-old winger in his fourth NHL season. He joins the Islanders with 12 goals and nine assists on the season thus far.
Engvall isn’t the most high impact acquisition, but he’ll prove very useful to the Islanders amidst their stretch run. He’s speedy, plays a solid offensive game and can play all three forward positions. His presence is especially needed right now as the Islanders struggle with injuries to their forward group. All in all, bringing in Engvall provides some cost efficient depth to the team’s middle six as they push for the postseason.
Second Point Eludes the Islanders in Shootout Loss to Wild
Tuesday night’s contest saw the Islanders visit Minnesota to play the Wild. All of the game’s scoring action took place within the first period. Josh Bailey got things started, finding a loose puck in front of the net and knocking it in. But with two minutes left in the period, the Wild found the equalizer. Ryan Reaves managed to bat in a shot that went off Sorokin’s pads to tie the game up. Those would prove to be the only flaws for Filip Gustavsson and Sorokin throughout regulation.
Both goalies helped guide their team to a point as the game went into the overtime period. The Islanders played a solid overtime period but still couldn’t find the back of the net. With Sorokin also keeping the Wild at bay the game went into the shootout. And, as per usual, it was a disaster for the Isles. None of Simon Holmstrom, Bo Horvat or Kyle Palmieri could get a shootout goal. Frederick Gaudreau scored the only shootout goal to give the Wild a 2-1 shootout win over the Islanders.
Third Period Rally Fuels Islanders Win Against the Red Wings
The Islanders and Red Wings entered Saturday separated by only five points in the standings. This made Saturday’s home game a critical one for the Islanders to win. They got off to a great start, outshooting the Red Wings 18-6 in the first period. But despite their early success they couldn’t find the back of the net. This continued late into the second period until the Red Wings started to gain some steam. While trapped in their zone, Horvat committed a high sticking penalty that gave Detroit a power play chance. Dylan Larkin would make the Islanders pay, scoring a power play goal with a lot of space right in front of Sorokin.
With the Red Wings having a 19-0-2 record when leading after two, things started to look a little bleak heading into the third. However the Isles quickly grabbed a hold of this period. At 2:11, Zach Parise picked up a rebounded shot and tied the game up at one. Two minutes later, Anders Lee tipped in a shot from Hudson Fasching to quickly take the lead. On a power play chance later in the period, Palmieri got a piece of a Noah Dobson shot for some much needed insurance. The cherry on top was Lee scoring his second of the game to secure a crucial 4-1 win for the Islanders.
Aside from the Islanders’ inability to win a shootout, this was a week of well played hockey for the team. The only big flaw was their inability to finish scoring chances before their tremendous four goal period against the Red Wings. Otherwise they continued what has been a good defensive run over the last couple of weeks.
In five of their last six games, they’ve held the opposition to two goals or less. It’s highly encouraging to see the Isles have this type of stretch amidst their postseason push. They’re going to have to keep this stretch going into next week with three huge games on slate. Playing against the Sabres, Penguins and Capitals, it’s not over dramatic to call all of these must-win games. All of these teams are still very much in the hunt and the Islanders can ill afford to lose points in any of them. Hopefully this wave of momentum continues on through what may become a season defining week of play for the team.
3 Stars of the Week
1. Anders Lee (2 goals including the game winner against the Red Wings)
2. Ilya Sorokin (Made 52 saves on 54 shots in two starts)
3. Josh Bailey (One goal and one assist between two games)
Featured image courtesy of Dennis Dasilva
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