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New York Islanders

Postgame Mailbag: Importance of Beating Sharks, In-Game Adjustments, What’s Next?



New York Islanders
New York Islanders celebrating thier 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks (Photo courtesy of New York Islanders Twitter)

The New York Islanders defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-2 on Tuesday night for their second-consecutive win. After a sluggish end to the first period, the Islanders found their game and eventually pulled away from a Sharks team that has been horrendous to start the NHL season.

Rapid Recap: Wahlstrom, Islanders Attack Sharks For Second Straight Win, 5-2

Let’s get to your questions and comments:

I love what I’m seeing but want to see them against Tampa, Rangers, and Canes.(DavidMoss21)

For the New York Islanders and head coach Lane Lambert, their mindset is only on the game at hand. And the last two contests, against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday and the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, were two opponents where the Islanders focused on their game and came away victorious. Given the upcoming schedule, the Islanders must take care of business and do that again on Thursday when the New Jersey Devils come to town.

Because after that game, the Islanders go on the road for a back-to-back in Florida, against Tampa and Florida, followed by a home matchup against the Rangers, a then a back-to-back against the Carolina Hurricanes, and Colorado Avalanche (Carolina on road, Colorado at home).

We will quickly see where this New York Islanders team is at when they face these opponents.

This team looks faster on the rush and the D coming in to help on it makes it even better to watch. (@alupo8897)

Faster is exactly what Lane Lambert wants his team to be. He told us following the 3-1 season-opening loss to the Florida Panthers that he thought his team was slowing the game down, going from D to D rather than taking the puck up the ice.

The New York Islanders are not a fast team on paper, but with their ability to make strong defensive plays and transition from defense to offense in a matter of seconds, they seem to be flying out there. They are creating odd-man rushes, mainly due to the defense’s ability to jump in on the rush.

The Islanders are showing what happens when the right pieces are in a defensive system and that defense is supposed to create offensive chances. And with a little more aggressive style, we are seeing the Islanders flourish over the last two games and even early in the season opener.

Sorokin is definitely the #1 and should play closer to 60-65 of the games. (@6_isles)

There’s no question the New York Islanders season hangs in the balance of Ilya Sorokin. To start the season, he has stopped 48 of 51, which is good for a .941 SV%. He’s allowed just three goals over his first two starts and has a GSAA of 2.00.

In my bold prediction piece before the start of the season, I had that Ilya Sorokin would make 55+ starts.

If Sorokin starts two of every three games, that’s around 55 starts in the season, and I believe he will get that chance, if not more.

But regardless of how many starts Sorokin gets, Semyon Varlamov is also an integral piece to his puzzle. In those games that Sorokin does not start, the Islanders have all the faith in the world in Varlamov.

In his season debut Tuesday night, he stopped 26 of 28 San Jose Sharks and, early on, made vital saves that eventually allowed the Islanders to take control finally.

The forecheck looks like the 2020 version. Still, a few sloppy turnovers on zone exits, but it’s coming along. (@VinPickles)

The New York Islanders forwards have been ultra-aggressive this season. It’s not just about them getting in on the forecheck but about how forwards hugging the opponent’s blue-line boards to stop breakout chances.

You are also seeing a fourth line, an identity line, that is back playing the game that earned them that nickname. Their whole game is based on getting the puck deep, forechecking hard, and wearing down the opposition.

Casey Cizikas seems to have refound that energizer-bunny gear, which has led his line. Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin are back healthy after both have been dealing with injuries over the last year.

When the fourth line leads by example, the other lines follow suit, and that’s why the Islanders were able to wear down the Sharks Tuesday night.

You know how they played in 3rd period under Trotz, usually terrible? I think they switched that out for slower starts with strong finishes, which I like better, but mid-game adjustments were superb. (@bootyboynick)

Last season, the New York Islanders were outscored 89-87 in third periods and owned a record of 1-27-3 when trailing entering the final frame. It seemed that once the Islanders went to the third trailing, that was the game, and that’s something that, under head coach Barry Trotz, in years prior, did not happen.

I don’t think the Islanders switched that out for slower starts, as they came out flying against Florida, Anaheim, and San Jose. But they made in-game adjustments, as we saw Tuesday when Oliver Wahlstrom was with Brock Nelson and Anders Lee to start the third period.

During his postgame media availability, Lambert said he wasn’t getting enough from his lines, which led to a few switches. Wahlstrom was a player that Lane was getting a lot out of, and the change paid off.

In-game adjustments are critical because the definition of insanity is doing the same things repeatedly and expecting a different result.

Here are the New York Islanders stories to know for today:

Alexander Romanov has showcased his ability to lay the body and block pucks. But that’s not the only two skills he has in his toolbox

Islanders Address Alexander Romanov’s Hidden Talents

Despite the New York Islanders showing off a more aggressive system, their bread and butter is still their defense, and that’s what the mindset remains. Their uptick in offense has not been at the sacrifice of their defensive play.

Islanders Not Sacrificing Defensive Structure Despite Aggressive Style, ‘Defense First’

Florida Hockey Now reporter Colby Guy attended the New York Islanders 7-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks via train this weekend. He documented his travels below: