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Instant Islanders: Takeaways From OT Win Against Maple Leafs



AP Photo/John Munson

Elmont, NY– The New York Islanders took down the Toronto Maple Leafs by a final score of 4-3 in overtime.

Brock Nelson, Casey Cizikas, Kyle Palmieri and Bo Horvat all scored in the win, while Ilya Sorokin made 34 saves.

But that’s just the box score. Here are the key takeaways from the night that was at UBS Arena.

Second Line Strength:

It’s been a while since the Islanders’ second line of Brock Nelson, Kyle Palmieri and Pierre Engvall had a stand-out performance.

That’s not to say they’ve played poorly of late, but they haven’t exactly played to the caliber we’ve become accustomed to.

Monday night was a return to form for the trio, as they accounted for two-thirds of the Islanders’ offense.

Brock Nelson put the Islanders ahead when he notched his 12th goal of the season at 9:20 of the first off assists from Kyle Palmieri and Noah Dobson.

The two linemates switched roles early in the second as Nelson set up Palmieri for his eighth goal of the year on a snipe from the high slot.

Nelson, Palmieri and Dobson all accounted for two points in the win. Even though Engvall didn’t add to his stat sheet, his speed opened up space for his linemates to operate.

Second Period, The Start Of Problems:

The Islanders have started to form a habit of slowing down in the second period.

They fell behind in the middle frame to both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Los Angeles Kings in recent matchups, and even though they still led after 40 minutes against Toronto, there was a clear drop in tempo compared to the first.

Kyle Palmieri gave the Islanders a 3-1 lead 1:50 into the period, but momentum slowly began tipping back in Toronto’s favor from there. Once John Tavares cut the lead to one, the scales completely tipped.

The Islanders were outshot 14-12 in the period and out-chanced 9-8 after dominating both categories in the first.

Still, though, the fact the Islanders maintained the advantage even after playing on their heels most of the period has to be worth something.

Fierce Forecheck:

Pinning your opponent in their own zone is the best way to slow them down, and the Islanders did that to a tee against the Leafs.

All night long, they were suffocating on the forecheck, giving Toronto next to no space to break out the puck.

Both of the Islanders’ goals in the first period came as direct results of the forecheck.

Kyle Palmieri’s effort along the half wall allowed him to beat John Tavares to a loose puck, giving him enough time to find Brock Nelson at the top of the left circle to finish for his 12th goal of the year.

Just before the period’s end, the fourth line combined to put the Islanders in the lead. Hudson Fasching and Cal Clutterbuck battled for the puck behind the Maple Leaf goal, where it eventually made its way to the net front for Casey Cizikas to place on the top shelf with a backhand finish.

A fierce forecheck has long been an integral part of the Islanders’ identity, and it’s impressive what they can do when it’s operating in full force.

Tavares Reaches 1,000:

John Tavares tallied 621 points in nine seasons as a member of the Islanders and reached history against his former team on Monday night.

With a goal and an assist, Tavares reached the 1,000 career point plateau, making him just the 98th player in NHL history to reach the benchmark.

Tavares scored his eighth goal of the season at 7:43 of the second period to bring the Maple Leafs within one.

Then, with just 6.4 seconds remaining in regulation, Tavares was credited for an assist on Morgan Rielly’s goal that sent the game to overtime.

This story will be updated




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