In Monday’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the New York Islanders credited Oliver Wahlstrom for providing the spark that led to the third-period comeback. It wasn’t a goal that provided the spark, but a fight, as Wahlstrom stood his ground after hitting Leafs star Auston Matthews.
The fight came against his friend, fellow Swede Rasmus Sandin:
Amazing Hockey Fighter.
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NYI Hockey Now caught up with Oliver Wahlstrom following Wednesday’s morning skate to discuss what it was like to fight against a friend in the NHL.
“We’re pretty close friends, but at the same time, we both hit dark modes there and just started swinging at each other,” Wahlstrom said. “So, it’s part of the game, and we saw each other after the game, and it was good.”
When Wahlstrom laid the hit on Matthews, he knew something was coming. He didn’t realize it was going to be his pal.
“When I went in and engaged there on Matthews, I maybe got him a little bit on the side, so I was wondering who’s coming in. I didn’t know it was going to be my buddy,” Wahlstrom said. “Like, I was getting ready for [Mark] Giordano or someone like that.”
“But I turned around, and it was him. So it was pretty funny, but yeah, like I said, we’re competitors on the ice, part of the game, and we just laughed it off.”
As for the suplex of Sandin, that was unintentional.
“No (jokingly). I lost my edge, and I just kind of fell, and I was still holding on to him, so he flew over me. And we got up, and we were like, ‘Oooh, never again.'”
New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert appreciated seeing Wahlstrom fight and spark the team.
“In that particular instance, it definitely lifted the bench up,” Lambert said. “He’s a guy who, you know, I’ve been really happy with him, his physicality. He’s strong. He wins battles on the walls, trying to get pucks out and things like that.”
“He adds that element which is really good. Nice for us to have.”