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New York Islanders

Islanders Take 2-0 Series Lead with Game 2 Win Over Caps

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New York Islanders Brock Nelson celebrates a goal

The New York Islanders became the first team in the Eastern Conference to take a 2-0 series lead.

Brock Nelson scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and the Islanders defeated the Capitals 5-2 in Game 2 on Friday night. Nelson’s goal came less that minute after Alexander Ovechkin scored his second goal of the game to even the score at two in the second period.

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Nelson forced a turnover at the blue line and broke free for a breakaway goal at 6:54 of the period.  The goal was Nelson’s third of the postseason.

Cal Clutterbuck secured the win for the Islanders with an insurance goal with just over two minutes left to play in the third. Lee added an empty-net goal with 1:39 remaining in the contest.

“We played to our identity,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “Our group prides itself on playing a 60-minute game and longer if needed. The group gives you an honest effort night-in and night-out. They understand the importance of the end goal of winning a hockey game and how you’re going to go about doing it. They’ve got a really good belief.”

Despite the expectation that the Capitals would seek retribution for the hit Anders Lee laid on Nicklas Backstrom, Game 2 remained relatively calm. The Islanders and Capitals combined for just 23 penalty minutes through the 60-minute contest.

The Islanders stuck to their game plan of playing at even strength against the Capitals. They gave the Capitals just two chances on the power play and the Islanders converted on one of their five opportunities on the man advantage.

“I like our composure as a group,” Martin said. “That’s two games we haven’t gotten off to the best start. Once we started getting the puck behind them and playing to our identity, we started getting chances.”

Nick Leddy’s goal on the power play evened the score at one at 2:56 of the second period. Leddy took a pass from Josh Bailey at the point and the seeing eye shot beat Braden Holtby. The goal came just 18 seconds into the Islanders power play.

The game-tying goal came a period after the Capitals had taken the lead off an Ovechkin goal 56 seconds into the game. The Capitals star picked the puck up after it bounced off the end boards and then snuck it by Islanders starter Semyon Varlamov with a backhander.

Matt Martin gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead at 5:01 of the second after taking a centering feed from Scott Mayfield.

Ovechkin tied the game at two just over a minute later when he deflected a shot from the point in front of the net.

“Getting the one back right away to establish a lead (was big),” Nelson said. “We’ve all been there where it happens against us. It can be deflating. That was a big time and we were able to get some chances and some possession. There’s going to be little flows and changes in the game like that and we want to come out on top.”

Game 3 will take place on Sunday at noon.

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New York Islanders

Anders Lee Looks Back While Waiting for What’s Ahead with Islanders

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Anders Lee

While the hockey world looks forward and waits to find out when or even if the 2020-21 season will start, New York Islanders captain Anders Lee took a moment to look back and reflect.

Lee and the Islanders are now just over a month removed from their season-ending loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to Tampa Bay. It had been the deepest the Islanders had gone in the playoffs since 1993 and the run shocked much of the hockey world.

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New York Islanders

What Could Home Games Look Like for the New York Islanders Next Season?

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New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum

There are a lot of questions about the 2020-21 NHL season.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed at the draft that the league was looking at a Jan. 1 start date. Outside of that, not much is known about their plan. The NHL has said in the past that they’d like to play a full 82 game schedule, but even that remains a question.

And for owners, the question of whether fans will be allowed in the building when games do start remains a major concern. The NHL, unlike NBA or NFL, is a gate driven league and relies heavily on paying customers filling the seats at arenas.

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Free Agency

Free Agency: Martin, Greene Likely to Return to Islanders for Next Season

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New York Islanders logo

It seems all but certain that Andy Greene is returning to the New York Islanders, and the same goes for Matt Martin.

The Islanders continue to sit in a holding pattern as they look to free up cap space via trades, but things seem to be pointing to a return for the two NHL veterans. General manager Lou Lamoriello called the return of Greene “a very strong option” during a Zoom conference call on Monday night and multiple reports indicated that the Islanders and Martin are working on a deal.

Greene’s return makes even more sense following the trade of Devon Toews to Colorado on Monday. Greene has worked with Noah Dobson, who will take Toews’ place on the blue line, in the past and proved extremely valuable during the postseason.

The soon to be 38-year-old — Greene’s birthday is on Oct. 30 — could be looking at a one-year deal from the Islanders to provide that veteran presence on the blue line. Greene had four points (two goals, two assists) in 21 playoff games with the Islanders.

Martin also had an impressive postseason of his own with five goals in 21 games, which matched his regular-season total. The fan-favorite has been a mainstay on the fourth line alongside Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas.

Martin’s deal with the Islanders, or anyone else for that matter should it get to that point, would be far less than the four-year, $10 million deal he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016. That carried a $2.5 million AAV and that is much higher than what the Islanders can afford at the moment.

Devon Toews Traded to Colorado for Second Round Picks

The decision to move Toews on Monday came out of necessity so that the Islanders could get back some pieces to sweeten any potential trades that would move some of their pricier contracts and free up some more salary cap room. The Islanders have been working with just $8.9 million in cap space.

The Islanders still need to re-sign restricted free agents Mat Barzal and Ryan Pulock and trading away the likes of Johnny Boychuk or another hefty contract would help make that task simpler.

The Fourth Period reported that the Islanders have been shopping Boychuk around. Boychuk has two years left on a deal that carries an AAV of $6 million and a list if eight teams he can be traded to. Leo Komarov is also reportedly being shopped by the Islanders.

Komarov also has two years left on his contract, which has a $3 million AAV and a seven-team no-trade list.

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