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Postgame Mailbag: Islanders Continuing to Come Back, Dominate Rangers in 3rd

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New York Islanders
New York Islanders forward Anders Lee celebrating after scoring the go-ahead goal against the New York Rangers. (Photo courtesy of New York Islanders Twitter)

Who here has seen and loves the movie “Miracle”? You know the part when Herb Brooks forces his team to stay on the ice after a disappointing effort against Sweden, and he yells, “Again, Again,” while Craig Patrick blows his whistle?

Take away the disappointment, and you have the New York Islanders winning from behind “Again. Again.” For the second time in as many days, they erased a 3-1 third-period deficit as they defeated the New York Rangers 4-3.

Rapid Recap: Islanders Come Back (Again), Beat Rangers 4-3

Here’s the NYI Hockey Now Postgame Mailbag:

What is up with Oliver? Turnovers, penalties, barely any SOG… he’s development is key to winning (@jgreens11)

Oliver Wahlstrom was demoted to the fourth line to start the contest against the New York Rangers. Before the game, I asked head coach Lane Lambert what he wanted to see more of from Wahlstrom. He said he wanted Wahlstrom to shoot the puck more because he is a shooter.

He had seven shots on goal over his five previous games and recorded two on Tuesday night.

At the end of the second, after Wahlstrom struggled on the fourth line as he made rookie mistakes with the puck, Can’trt placed him with Mat Barzal, which seemed to provide a spark.

But his turnovers remain an issue. And he’s found himself in the box recently, with four penalties over his last five games.

He seems to be pressing a bit, trying too much, which was another reason why he started on the fourth line, as Lambert said he wanted to see him play a North-South game.

Can’t keep up this being down going into the 3rd. (gthompson021)

We can say that all we want, as, coming from behind every game is not a recipe for long-term success. But the idea that they can’t keep doing this…I don’t know…they very well could as they work through finding a way to play a more complete game.

This team has a tremendous amount of confidence, and with how the schedule aligns over the rest of the week, with games against the Arizona Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets, if the Islanders trail in any of them, those games are not over.

And as we have seen against the stronger teams, in the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, and the latest, the New York Rangers, no team’s lead is safe…unless you’re the Detroit Red Wings.

I think the D activating is helping players find better scoring space which is cool and refreshing after last year (@alupo8897)

The defense has been significantly more aggressive this season, and more so, it seems, over the last handful of games. You are seeing defensemen below the face-off dot. Recently, Ryan Pulock has been a much bigger piece in transition, at least from my perspective. What that does is it forces defensemen to leave their assignments, which in theory, should create more space for the forwards.

Other defensemen, such as Adam Pelech, are transitioning with speed, and quick moves are creating time and space.

As much as Sebastian Aho gets thrown under the bus, his speed has stood out in transition.

How do they fix the inconsistency issues? They’re a total Jekyll and Hyde case right now, from period to period on a nightly basis. One period they can’t make simple passes or clear their zone for their lives. The next, they run an elite offense. It’s bizarre how extreme it’s been. (@Enric0Pallazz0)

The extreme play has been a concern, but they have, for the most part, been consistent with it.

I would call their play against the New York Rangers a step in the right direction, as despite looking lost in the second period, it was one of the first games in a while where the Islanders got off to a solid start.

But when it mattered most, the third period, something clicked.

And the players do not want to be put in a situation where they have to come back every night, but they said that there is the belief that no matter the score, they can come back and win.

Despite the adjustments the players have made to Lambert’s system, they are still feeling it out, and at times, they seem to be unable to execute it. But while they continue to work on it, they have notched four points over their last two games, two games that could very well have been point-less performances.

Solid game, have to clean up the penalties and stay out of the box (@SgtSmoke710)

Against the Calgary Flames, the New York Islanders stayed out of the box for the entirety of the game, which allowed them to have fresh legs for a strong third-period push. But against the New York Rangers, Casey Cizikas took two penalties, and Oliver Wahlstrom and Anthony Beauvillier each took one.

The Ranger made the Islanders pay on both Cizikas’ penalties, but in the third period, the Islanders remained disciplined, got to their five-on-five game, and erased a two-goal deficit.

NYI HOCKEY NOW STORIES

One could say that Adam Pelech’s snipe to kick off the third period was the Islanders’ turning point of the game. But Semyon Varlamov’s breakaway save on Jimmy Vesey gets the honors.

Turning Point: Varlamov’s Breakaway Save on Vesey With Islanders Down 1 in 3rd

The New York Islanders have a handful of players who do the “little things” nightly to help the team succeed. So far, New York Islanders forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau has been relied upon heavily in all facets of Lane Lambert’s gameplan and has been their unsung hero.

Rosner: Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s Defensive Game, Face-Off Ability Has Been Heroic

The biggest question heading into the contest with the New York Rangers was if Cal Clutterbuck would be available for the New York Islanders after missing the final two periods Monday night in the 4-3 overtime win over the Calgary Flames. But other questions arose as Oliver Wahlstrom had been demoted to the fourth line, while Nikita Soshnikov skated with Mathew Barzal. It did not last the whole game, but that’s how it started.

Wahlstrom Demoted to Fourth Line, Soshnikov Gets Chance with Barzal

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