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New York Islanders

RED HOT! Islanders Mathew Barzal Scores Highlight Reel Goal, Continues Point Streak



New York Islanders Mathew Barzal celebrates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Had it not been for Casey Cizikas, Mathew Barzal would’ve had the goal of the night Thursday for the New York Islanders.

The game tied late in the third period with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Barzal went 1-on-1 with defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph. With Barzal maneuvering his stick and body from the inside to the outside of the slot and coming into the Pittsburgh zone with speed, the rookie had little chance.

Barzal cut close to the net and eventually roofed his fifth goal high glove side over Casey DeSmith. You can debate the merits of Barzal versus Cizikas’s goal, but the former gave the Islanders a brief lead, which they would eventually relinquish and fall in overtime, 4-3.

“I just got a full head of steam and knew it was a 1-on-1,” Barzal said after the game. “I just tried to make a move on him. I had a similar one in the second or first period and didn’t score. Tried a similar move and was fortunate to get it up.”

In what was the Islanders’ fifth straight game with a point, albeit with a disappointing finish, Barzal extended his point streak to seven games. Overall he’s totaled 13 points in 12 games this season, keeping with a point-per-game pace.

Barry Trotz praised Barzal’s offensive skills along with the improved defensive ones, especially when lined up against Sidney Crosby.

“I thought Barzy was really solid,” Trotz said. “He actually had a solid two-way game tonight. He was stopping on pucks, he was on the right side of people for a lot of the game. He’s playing against one of the greatest players of this generation. Says a lot about him — he did a really good job today.”

More than his flashy goal against Pittsburgh, the 23-year-old has been the primary driver of the offense since the first drop of the puck this year.

JUST SHORT! New York Islanders Fall to Penguins in Shootout Loss

The first line center was at it again tonight, holding a 58.82 Corsi For percentage (16.72 Corsi rel percentage) during 5-on-5 situations. Adding to that, he generated five high-danger chances while on the ice for just one against. In all he had a 64.13 expected goals for percentage, and those good chances did come to fruition with the spectacular third-period strike. He had an extended shift that lasted over a minute in overtime that came with a chance as well as a shootout attempt, but he couldn’t add to his night.

The 23-year-old credited Lee with a good pass off the wall that set it up for a situation where Barzal could skate against Joseph. Barzal said after having a similar chance earlier in the game, he was happy to bury this golden opportunity.

“Sometimes you get into those spots and you want to pull up,” Barzal said of the goal, “but I put my head down and wanted to go right through [Jospeh]. I was fortunate enough to get it upstairs at the end.”

In terms of the goals, it’s not the first time this season Barzal has taken a defenseman to task before potting one into the net. On opening night at Madison Square Garden, he used his speed and stick handling to deke around now-seemingly exiled Tony DeAngelo.

At many points this season, the Islanders have had a dearth of scoring. But Barzal has been consistent in his offensive presence, and so far he’s on pace to put up some career highs in the advanced metrics department. Through 12 games his 52.97 Corsi For percentage at 5-on-5 is the best of any season. The only other two with higher marks on the team are Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle, both of which have spent the bulk of the year lining up with Barzal.

And yes, it’s still a relatively small sample size and things could move in one direction or the other, but Barzal has a 62.50 high danger chances for percentage, which is about nine percentage points higher than his previous best in 2018-19.

Right now in the early part of the season, Barzal is far-and-away the team’s MVP outside of Semyon Varlamov.

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[…] The Islanders are usually a boring team, but Mathew Barzal brings them to life. (NYI Hockey Now) […]

[…] Islanders Mat Barzal extended his point streak on Thursday as he broke out the moves for highlight-reel goal. (NYI Hockey Now) […]

[…] seven-game level streak with three objectives and 6 assists over that span. As our buddies over at NYI Hockey Now identified, the objectives have been of the spotlight reel […]

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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