The New York Islanders went 2-1 in their three games played this week. They picked up wins on the road against the Maple Leafs and at home against the Lightning. Their only loss of the week took place at home against the Flames. The Islanders have a 22-18-12 record with 56 total points on the season.
Engvall’s Heroics Leads to Win Over Maple Leafs
In their first game after the All-Star Break, the Islanders traveled to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs. Mat Barzal got the team off to a good start in the first period after he cleaned up a rebounded shot from Mike Reilly. The Maple Leafs found their answer 50 seconds into the second period, when Mitch Marner tied the game with a shot from the circle. Exactly two minutes after Marner’s goal, Kyle MacLean got a breakaway chance coming out of the box after a successful penalty kill. He beat Ilya Samsonov with a backhand move to score his first career goal and put the Islanders back on top. They held this lead late into the third primarily due to the exceptional play of Ilya Sorokin.
Despite their best efforts to hold the lead, a late penalty proved to be costly. John Tavares got a deflection power play goal to tie the game again. With overtime seemingly on the horizon yet again, Pierre Engvall flipped the script. He was in great position to take a rebounded shot and bury it for the go-ahead goal with two minutes left in the game. The Islanders successfully held off the Maple Leafs in the final two minutes and secured a 3-2 victory.
Blowing Out the Lighting
The Islanders returned home on Thursday to take on their bitter rivals in the Tampa Bay Lightning. Things got off to a great start again as Noah Dobson scored at the 4:07 mark of the first period. But just minutes later, Nikita Kucherov deflected a shot past Sorokin to tie the game. Later in the period, Barzal got a great look against Jonas Johansson and scored on a backhanded shot. Then, Reilly made a great pass to set up Kyle Palmieri in front of the net for the team’s third goal in the first.
In the second period, Brandon Hagel capitalized on a power play opportunity to cut the Islanders’ lead down to one. However, this would be the last goal scored by the Lightning while the Islanders went on a three-goal run. It started with a power play slap shot goal that came right off a faceoff win, courtesy of the returning Ryan Pulock. Next up was Bo Horvat, taking a feed from Barzal and scoring from the point. Casey Cizikas capped off the run by scoring off of a turnover in his first game back from injury. The teams played a scoreless third period, resulting in the Islanders getting a dominant 6-2 win over their rivals.
Late Comeback Bid Falls Short Against the Flames
In their final game of the week, the Islanders hosted the Calgary Flames. For the first two periods of this game, the team had very little life against the opposition. While the shots were even throughout, the Islanders had very little success in sustaining offensive pressure. When they did get some chances, Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom was quick to shut them down. As for scoring, MacKenzie Weegar got things going in the first with a powerful shot to beat Semyon Varlamov. The next goal wouldn’t come until the second period, when Jonathan Huberdeau took care of a rebound to net a power play goal for the visitors. At the 15:16 mark of the period, Weegar got a prime look for his second goal of the game.
Down 3-0 to start the third period, the Islanders played some of their best hockey. They were able to pressure the Flames and begin their comeback bid. Brock Nelson ripped a shot into the back of the net at the 4:00 mark to finally get the Islanders on the board. While the offensive play was drastically improved in the period, they still struggled to beat Markstrom. Patrick Roy pulled his goaltender with around four minutes left in regulation to no avail. Blake Coleman buried an empty netter to keep this game out of reach. J.G. Pageau got a goal with the net empty to cut the deficit down to two, but Weegar completed his hat trick with an empty netter to officially end this game. The Flames took down the Islanders by a 5-2 final score in this one.
3 Stars of the Week
1. Mat Barzal (Two goals, two assists)
2. Pierre Engvall (GWG vs. Maple Leafs, assist)
3. Ilya Sorokin (Two wins, 2.00 GAA, .922 save percentage)
Featured image courtesy of NHL.com
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