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3 New York Islanders Takeaways: Losing Streak Ends with Needed-Win Over Sens

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New York Islanders

The New York Islanders snapped a month’s long losing streak that finally put them in the win column. A three-goal second period helped lift the Isles to a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

Anders Lee scored twice and Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows had a two-point night.  Ilya Sorokin made 30 saves in what was his first win in net since Nov. 6 in Winnipeg, which was also the Islanders’ last win. Jean-Gabriel Pageau also scored against his former club in the win.

Here are three takeaways from the win.

Anders Lee Reopens his Office

The New York Islanders captain made himself right at home in front of the net on Tuesday night against Ottawa. Anders Lee had his first two-goal game since the Islanders beat Minnesota at the beginning of November. It had been over a month since Lee last found the back of the net, so the forward needed to score soon if the team was hoping to break their 11-game slump.

Lee’s two goals came off of gritty efforts to take advantage of his positioning down low. Lee’s first came after he missed the net on his first attempt and the puck bounced right back to him for a backhand chance that beat Filip Gustavsson. His second was another fortuitous bounce and good positioning by Lee.

After Lee’s first goal of the night, it appeared as though he took a big sigh of relief after having gone so long without a goal.

“That’s a subconscious move there,” Lee said. “We needed a bounce and the way I look at that play I got one off the back wall. … It doesn’t matter how they go in. It doesn’t matter how we win the game. In this stretch right now, we just needed to get two points and we got it. So, yeah, there’s probably definitely a natural sigh of relief there.”

The Islanders’ top line had relied on Mathew Barzal to be the tip of the spear for the offense, especially while so many players had been sidelined by COVID. However, New York needed Lee to start producing more now that he was back from COVID protocol.

The Start of Something?

TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger was on the Ottawa Senators pregame show and said he could see the New York Islanders going on a run. He wasn’t convinced that they still have time to make the playoffs, but still the Islanders have looked better in their last four games. Tuesday’s win was the fourth consecutive game that New York has recorded at least a point and they’re showing signs of life after a very dormant November.

The Islanders offense, which had gone dry for a majority of the losing streak, has refound its game over the last four games. They’ve scored 11 goals over the last four games New York has played and have received contributions from the guys that they’ve needed to see more out of. Oliver Wahlstrom has goals in three straight games, which included a multi-goal game in Detroit on Saturday and an impressive go-ahead backhand goal on Tuesday in Ottawa.

Noah Dobson has continued to play an active role on the ice, both offensively and defensively and the power play, while it didn’t score, has looked better with the Islanders just keeping it simple.

Overall, the Islanders have begun to regain some of their signature form and on Tuesday they didn’t allow Ottawa the chance to swing the momentum like they’ve allowed other teams in the past do this season.

“We jumped on them, we started creating some loose pucks,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “We scored a goal and then we followed it up with a goal right away. If you think about this whole stretch that we had, we’d score a goal, get some life on the bench and before they’d announcer could get the goal scorer’s name out, we would give up a goal on the next shift. (Against Ottawa) we followed it up and scored. The momentum was good.”

Mayfield Penalties Costing Islanders

It was a New York Islanders win, but Scott Mayfield’s untimely penalties continued on Tuesday. The defenseman had a pair of calls go against him on Sunday night against Chicago and then took one against Ottawa that cost the Islanders a goal.

The penalty came in the second period with the Islanders ahead 1-0. Mayfield was called for a high-sticking penalty against Josh Norris, and to make the situation tougher it was called a double-minor.  Ottawa was able to score on the ensuing penalty — in fact, it was Norris who tied the game.

Mayfield has been a solid defender for the Islanders this season, and at points, he has been the only regular left on the blue line, but you can be sure Trotz wasn’t thrilled about Mayfield putting his team in that spot.

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