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New York Islanders

LOVE ISLAND(ERS): Pageau, Barzal Lead Isles to Victory over Boston



New York Islanders win

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mathew Barzal gave the Boston Bruins a Valentine’s Day gift from the New York Islanders that they won’t soon forget.

Barzal, who Boston famously passed up drafting three times in 2015, scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and Pageau scored twice as the Islanders snapped Boston’s five-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory. It was the second time this season that the Islanders have bested Boston on Long Island and extended New York’s point streak to six games.

“I thought we played an Islanders style playoff game against the Bruins,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “They had back-to-backs so I felt we jumped on them. Our start wasn’t real great, but we got our traction about eight minutes into the first period. I thought we were moving our feet, I thought we were physical, I thought we were winning our battles. … It was a big win for us because that’s a very good team over there.”

It was Barzal’s power-play goal early in the third period that snapped a 2-2 tie.

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After getting an open look moments early, Barzal capitalized on another one from the same spot. Noah Dobson managed to keep the puck in the Boston zone and it made its way to Anders Lee, who quickly sent the puck to Barzal for the one-timer.

The goal extended Barzal’s point streak to eight games, which is a new career-best for the 23-year-old.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau put the icing on the cake when he buried a shorthanded chance at 14:32 of the third. Leo Komarov was able to feed Pageau the puck down low and Pageau put past the glove of Tuukka Rask to give the Islanders a two-goal lead.

“The power play has been great. We haven’t had a lot of opportunities in the game,” said Jordan Eberle, who also scored in the win. “It’s been like one a game, but we’ve capitalized a couple of times in key moments and then obviously you saw the PK has been big all year, and then they got a big goal for us tonight.

“Obviously special teams had a huge impact and why we won tonight.”

Saturday was only Boston’s second regulation loss of the season and both have come against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders have won three of their last four games since snapping a five-game skid on Feb. 6.

The win helped the Islanders pull two points ahead of Pittsburgh in the East Division and are seven points back of the division leaders, Boston.

“I think we’ve done some good things,” Brock Nelson said. “Finding ways to string games together where you get points is huge. Obviously, you like to get the wins. It was a big one tonight.”

Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves for the Islanders in the win and picked up his sixth win of the season. The New York Islanders had a season-high 42 shots on net on Saturday night.

Boston capitalized off a sluggish start from the Islanders in the first period. After hemming the fourth line in their own end, Patrice Bergeron was able to dig the puck out of the corner and fling it to Brad Marchand in the slot for the opening goal.

The Boston tally appeared to wake up the Islanders, who proceeded to pressure the visitors from Massachusetts until they finally cashed in at 11:36 of the first. Ryan Pulock was able to throw the puck onto the net and with Leo Komarov and Pageau parked in front, Pageau swept the loose puck past Tuukka Rask.

The goal had originally been credited to Komarov, but replay clearly showed that Pageau had been the one to touch the puck.

Eberle gave the Islanders the lead moments later off a soft shot on net during a rush. The Islanders forward sent the puck toward the net and it hit off the inside of Rask’s pads and went into the net at 15:16 of the first to put New York up 2-1.

“I thought we showed some character,” Pageau said about the Islanders turnaround. “We stuck to our game, knew they played last night. Try to put the puck behind their D, make them play 200 feet and I thought we outworked them. Every line that got out there really worked hard.”

Boston was able to tie the game back up late in the second period off the odd-man rush. Adam Pelech got caught pinching in the Boston end which only left Pulock and Jordan Eberle back to defend.

That left Brad Marchand open and he put his shot past Varlamov to even the game at two with 3:09 left in the middle frame.

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[…] Joking aside, Barzal’s third-period goal broke a 2-2 tie and served as the game-winner in Saturday’s 4-2 win over […]

[…] Islanders’ Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mathew Barzal gave the Bruins a Valentine’s Day gift that they won’t soon forget. (NYI Hockey Now) […]

New York Islanders

Islanders Plus/Minus: New York Tops Buffalo … Again



Islanders sweep Sabres

No, this is not a copy-and-paste job from the past two games. The New York Islanders did in fact beat the Buffalo Sabres, 5-2, for the third straight game on Sunday afternoon.

It was again a second period of dominance for the Islanders, who rattled off three goals to take a commanding lead they would never relinquish.

In what has probably felt like Groundhog Day for Buffalo, it was another game of missed opportunities and a (mostly) quiet effort from its superstars. The Islanders now move to 10-0-2 at Nassau Coliseum this season as they’ve continually dominated on home ice.

Let’s take a dive into what went right and wrong for the Islanders in this Plus/Minus breakdown.



Anders Lee: O Captain! My Captain! 

Anders Lee has made a home office for himself in front of the net throughout his career. In 2021, he’s continued that theme and thrived in the dirty areas.

His goal 5:13 into the second period Sunday gave him a goal in back-to-back games and points in four straight contests. Now with a team-leading 12 goals this season, he’s on pace to top his 20 in 68 games from last season.

Every hockey coach will wax poetic on the importance of net-front presence, and the Islanders have one of the best forwards in the game to establish control in front of the crease. Just look at the consistency from this NBCSN graphic. Teams would be best served making sure Lee doesn’t get any space in front of the goalie. This isn’t exactly a new trend, but Lee uses his 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame to his advantage.

Second period dominance: Part II

One day after the Islanders scored four in the middle period, they punched across three in the second. Lee, Brock Nelson and Casey Cizikas all scored in what felt like a sequel to Saturday’s onslaught.

SUNDAY FUNDAY! Islanders Complete Sweep of Sabres with Third Straight 5-2 Victory

Nelson, who’s now scored in two straight, seems to finally be hitting his stride. Although five of his eight goals this year have come on the power play, his last two have come at even strength, a welcome sign for the Islanders and their scoring depth. Overall, he’s recorded a point in three straight games.

The Islanders as a team had seven high danger chances for and one allowed in the second period, which led to a gaudy 74.84 expected goals for percentage. The analytics matched with the eye test and the results.

Fourth line does it again

Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck each had a point in Saturday’s win and both were key in Sunday’s follow-up.

Clutterbuck’s goal just past the halfway mark in the third was especially important as the Sabres pressured and made it a one-goal game. Off a Brandon Davidson turnover at the blue line, Clutterbuck took the puck in all alone, used a forehand to backhand move and roofed a goal just under the bar and over Jonas Johansson’s blocker.

The fourth line was all over the scoresheet in the three-game sweep over the Sabres. Matt Martin scored twice Thursday, Clutterbuck added two over the last two games and Cizikas added one Sunday.

Yes, the Sabres are far and away the worst team in the league right now, but getting scoring depth is still important for the Islanders.


Shaky third, uneven Sorokin

Down 3-0, the Sabres showed enough pushback to get into the game in the third period and did thanks to goals from Jeff Skinner and Colin Miller. For a brief second after Miller’s goal, it was a close 3-2 game and Buffalo conceivably stayed in the game had it not been for Clutterbuck’s back-breaking goal.

Sorokin wasn’t really tested through the first two periods and wasn’t as his best in the final 20 minutes. Miller’s goal was a weak one he’d like to have back, with the puck just sliding under the netminder’s arm. Sorokin did recover to make a strong save on Skinner later in the period to keep the Sabres at two goals, but it definitely was not the best period for the rookie. In the end, he did stop 24 of 26 shots.

But had it not been for Scott Mayfield saving a loose puck near the goal line late in the third period, it likely would’ve been three goals for Buffalo.

Skinner gets off the schneid

It was going to happen eventually, but Skinner scoring his first goal of the year has to fall into the negative category for the Islanders. Buffalo’s top forwards (Skinner, Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall) have notably been quiet this season.

It was a great individual effort going from behind the net to roofing a backhander from near the crease, but when a skater hasn’t scored in over 365 days, you get a minus for allowing that to change, as nit-picky as that might be.

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New York Islanders

SUNDAY FUNDAY! Islanders Complete Sweep of Sabres with Third Straight 5-2 Victory



New York Islanders win

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Buffalo  Sabres showed some life, but the New York Islanders held them off in the end and wrapped up a three-game set with Buffalo with a 5-2 win on Sunday at Nassau Coliseum.

Cal Clutterbuck came up with the most important goal of the afternoon, scoring with 7:03 left in the game and Buffalo carrying the momentum after pulling within one of the Isles. Clutterbuck was able to corral the puck after Matt Martin had flipped it out of the Islanders’ end.

Buffalo defenseman Brandon Davidson fell as he tried to keep up with Clutterbuck, which gave the Islanders forward a clear path to the net to score. Brock Nelson scored on the empty net at 17:48 to seal the win.

“It was a big goal,” Clutterbuck said about the play. “I just saw Marty flip a puck out and made a really good play under pressure. The puck took a bounce and I was fortunate enough to change directions… It worked out.”

It was the third consecutive game that the Islanders had defeated their Western New York foe by a 5-2 final. Sunday was the final meeting between the two teams on Long Island.

New York and Buffalo play two more times in the final week of the regular season at KeyBank Center.

“You see them three times in a row, all in our building,” Lee said. “It’s a mini-series. That third game is tough, especially on a back-to-back, and we knew that coming in. We did a real good job sticking to our game.”

The New York Islanders extended their hold of the East Division with Sunday’s win. They now sit four points ahead of the Washington Capitals, who are in action against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night. The Islanders took possession of the top spot in the division on Friday after Washington fell to the Boston Bruins.

Anders Lee and Casey Cizikas each scored on Sunday, and Nelson recorded his first two-goal game of the season. Ilya Sorokin picked up his fourth NHL win in goal, making 24 saves against Buffalo.

It was Sorokin’s seventh start this season.

“It’s tough to beat any team,” Nelson said. “These guys have a lot of weapons. Any team can beat anyone… so every game is going to be different every day…. We did a good job taking it one day at a time.”

Lee got the Islanders onto the board early in the second period with a redirection goal from in front of the net. Jordan Eberle sent a pass to Lee from the side of the net and the Islanders captain was able to put the puck past Buffalo starter Jonas Johansson at 5:13.

Just over a minute later the Islanders had made it a two-goal lead.

Oliver Wahlstrom was able to drive the puck into the offensive zone and then feed Nelson in the high slot. Nelson quickly got off a wrist shot that beat Johansson to make it a 2-0 game.

The goal extended Nelson’s point streak to three games and Sunday was the second consecutive game that Nelson had scored in.

The Islanders added to their lead late in the second when Cizikas scored off an impressive pass from Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The Islanders’ third line centerman backhanded a pass from the goal line over to Cizikas, who had been parked in front of the Buffalo Net.

Cizikas picked up his fourth point (one goal, three assists) in his last three games on the play and Pageau recorded his 200th career NHL assist.

Buffalo found some life in the third period to make things interesting. Jeff Skinner scored his first goal of the year at 5:41 of the final frame to break up Sorokin’s shutout bid.

Colin Miller pulled  Buffalo within one goal of the Islanders at the 9:35 mark of the third period.

Sunday’s game was nationally televised on NBC as part of Hockey Day in America. Lee and Nelson are both American-born and scored the first two goals of the game.

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New York Islanders

Islanders Plus/Minus: New York Rolls Over Buffalo Again | NYHN+



Islanders celebrate goal against sabres

Another day, another 5-2 win for the New York Islanders against the Buffalo Sabres. It might not have been the prettiest start in the world, but the Islanders rolled with four goals in the second period to extend their point streak to seven games. “I don’t think we were sluggish,” Barry Trotz said of the…

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