October is over and six more months remain for the New York Islanders. This month saw the return of the hockey season after a long summer, a couple of Islanders debuts, a few of NHL debuts and a milestone for the longest-tenured Islander. In the end, New York finished 8-3-0 and third in the Metropolitan Division standings. Before November begins, it’s time to take a look back on the month that was, in Islanders hockey.
It was a slow start out of the gate for the Islanders as they looked sluggish against the reigning Metro Division champs to begin the season. Semyon Varlamov and Derick Brassard made their Islanders debuts in this one.
After the Caps took the lead in the first, Devon Toews tied it with a shot that bounced off of five four different Capitals and the post before going in. The score was knotted in the second before TJ Oshie scored the game-winner on the power play. The team looked slow and sloppy throughout this game and weren’t able to get much done offensively.
After dropping their first game of the year, the Islanders came out hungry to get that first W. After a scoreless first, the offense came alive in the second where New York got three straight goals from Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee. Leo Komarov was effective as well in the game.
Patrik Laine got the Jets on the board late with a snapshot from the right circle but that was all the offense they could muster. Anthony Beauviller scored in the third period to put it away and the Islanders looked to be back on track.
This game looked like another step back for the Islanders in Josh Bailey’s 800th career NHL game. After Anthony Beauvillier got the scoring started with a short-handed goal, wily vet James Neal went to work.
He ended the period with two goals of his own and completed the hat-trick six and a half minutes into the second, scoring twice on the power play. Zack Kassian would score to break Neal’s scoring streak but he came back in the third with his fourth of the game to make it 5-1 with just over 14 minutes to go in regulation.
Matt Martin scored in garbage time to keep this one from being a blowout. It was another bad game for the inconsistent Islanders who sat at 1-2-0 with their first road game looming.
In their second straight game against an undefeated opponent, the Islanders faced their first travel of the season. They kept it close for about a period and a half, but the Hurricanes eventually dominated.
Teuvo Teravainen got the scoring started before Brock Nelson tied it on the power-play. Brett Pesce ensured Carolina went into the first intermission with the lead. Johnny Boychuk was able to tie the game with a blast from the point early in the second, the Islanders’ second power-play goal.
After that, it was all Canes. Erik Haula and Dougie Hamilton put them up two in the final five minutes of the middle frame. Andrei Svechnikov tacked on another in the final minute of the third period, a period where the Islanders managed just two shots. At 1-3-0, the Islanders needed a turnaround, and, boy, was it coming.
After losing to two undefeated teams back to back, the Islanders drew the 1-2-1 Panthers back home. Denis Malgin started the scoring in the first with a one-timer from the right circle.
The Islanders would answer in the second. Anders Lee got them on the board with a one-timer in the slot after Mat Barzal sauced him a pass from Gretzky’s Office. Late in the period, Josh Bailey took advantage of a great step by Adam Pelech in the neutral zone and snapped a shot over the shoulder of Sam Montembeault to give the Islanders the lead.
Jonathan Huberdeau tied it in the third, sending New York to its first overtime of the season. No one scored in the five-minute frame and this one would need a shootout.
Brock Nelson went first, finding an open spot over the right pad of Montembeault for the only goal of the shootout. Semyon Varlamov stopped all three Florida shooters, adding to 35 saves in the game, for his first win as an Islander.
Oct. 14: Islanders: 3, St. Louis: 2 (OT) at NYCB Live
In this game, the Islanders played a game of “how long can we get outplayed and still pull out a victory?” The answer turned out to be 50 minutes.
They welcomed the St. Louis Blues who began their title defense at 3-1-1. St. Louis dominated for much of the game, scoring first in the opening period. Brayden Schenn sent a pass towards the crease that was blocked by Anthony Beauvillier. Unfortunately, the puck bounced in off of Beauvillier and into the net.
The game would go over 44 minutes without a goal before Vladimir Tarasenko sniped a power-play goal and gave the Blues 2-0 lead with under 15 minutes to play. The Islanders began to push a little bit and got a break late in the period. Michael Dal Colle grabbed a clearing attempt from Jaden Schwartz and sent a cross-ice pass to Brock Nelson, who snapped a shot from the side-boards that found its way in past Jordan Binnington.
Then, the Islanders pushed. In one of the best five-minute sequences of the season, New York went on the offensive, trying desperately to tie the score, and the got another break. With the goalie pulled, Mat Barzal held the puck in the right circle and tried to send a pass to Beauvillier in the slot. The shot got deflected by Alex Steen past Binnington to tie the game.
It was time for OT for the second straight game.
Just over a minute in, Barzal took a drop pass and danced around the zone. He rounded the net before sending a pass to Devon Toews in the left circle who sent a one-timer top corner for the win. The Islanders, despite playing with fire, were back to .500 in the NHL debut for Oliver Wahlstrom.
Heading back out on the road, the Islanders looked to get above .500 for the first time this season while the Jets looked to avenge their loss from 11 days prior.
Winnipeg got on the board first thanks to a Nikolaj Ehlers rip from the left circle on the power-play.
The Islanders, or should I say Mat Barzal, got going in the second. Just 16 seconds into New York’s only power play of the night, Barzal one-timed a cross-ice pass from Josh Bailey to tie the score.
He would strike again with just 17 seconds to go in the period, picking up the puck at his own blueline and turning up ice, snapping a shot past Connor Hellebuyck and giving the Islanders a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Bailey tacked on the empty netter in the final minute.
The Islanders were rolling with three wins in a row and a winning record for the first time this season, plus a homestand coming up. They would look to continue the momentum back on Long Island, but first, a game in Columbus.
Like with St. Louis, the Islanders tempted the hockey gods. This time, they were outplayed for much of the final 40 minutes of regulation after taking a first period lead.
Mat Barzal stayed hot, knocking down a Zach Werenski clearing attempt and going five-hole on Joonas Korpisalo to extend his goal streak to three games. Seth Jones tied it, finding a loose puck at the point, walking in a snapping it over the shoulder of Thomas Greiss.
Michael Dal Colle put the Islanders back in front, cleaning up the trash in front after Anthony Beauvillier sent his own rebound through the crease.
The Jackets tied the game late in the second after the Islanders couldn’t clear the zone and Greiss couldn’t catch a shot from the point, giving Boone Jenner a shot at the rebound that he put home.
Despite dominant Columbus play in the third, this Islanders made it to overtime for the third time in four games.
The Islanders went to work early in the frame, Anthony Beauviller grabbed a rebound and sent out to Nick Leddy at the point. Leddy walked in, drawing defenders to him, before hitting Brock Nelson with a pass and Brock did not miss the wide-open net. It was at this point that fans were wondering how long the Islanders could keep winning like this.
Luckily, they didn’t have to find out.
Two teams coming into this game on four-game winning streaks made for a great East vs West matchup as the Coyotes invaded Long Island.
The Islanders struck first as Derick Brassard scored his first goal as an Islander after being moved to the wing. Ryan Pulock placed a shot-pass perfectly on Brassard’s stick to open the scoring just 1:25 in.
Former Islander Michael Grabner tied it up after Josh Bailey turned the puck over at the Yotes’ blue line while the Islanders’ defense changed, giving Grabner a breakaway.
Bailey redeemed himself in the second, sending a one-timer from the slot over the shoulder of Darcy Kuemper for his fourth of the year.
When the Islanders needed some insurance in the third, the captain answered the call. Lee outmuscled Alex Goligoski in front of the net to get a chance on a Bailey pass that he backhanded in while falling down.
Conor Garland brought Arizona withing one with Kuemper on the bench late in the third, but Scott Mayfield’s empty netter from his own zone sealed it for New York. The Islanders came out of this game with a five-game win streak and continued to climb up the Metropolitan and Eastern Conference standings.
This one was a trap game for the Islanders, facing a weak Senators team while riding a long win streak, and it looked like they were falling into it early.
A failed clear in the final seconds of a penalty kill led to a point shot by Thomas Chabot that was deflected home by Tyler Ennis. Nick Leddy wouldn’t let the Islanders fail, however.
Leddy regrouped in his own zone and turned up ice, blowing by Senators defenders before backhanding a shot through the five-hole of Anders Nilsson. Leddy showed off his speed again on the power play, getting the puck back off of a give-and-go to get in alone and drawing a penalty shot when he was tripped up by Nikita Zaitsev.
Taking the penalty shot slowly, Leddy slowed up near the hash marks of the right circle before ripping a wrister off the post and in, glove side on Nilsson. The Islanders added to the lead in the second as a point shot from Leddy was deflected by Matt Martin to make the lead two goals before Derick Brassard scored against his former team, wristing a shot that leaked through Nilsson off of a drop pass from Mat Barzal.
Ennis scored his second of the game in the third, but New York held on and kept the train rolling, heading home with six straight wins.
In their final game of the month, the Islanders hosted the rival Flyers in a game that had barn-burner potential early with three goals in the first five minutes.
First, Jakub Voracek deflected in a backdoor pass from Travis Sanheim after a failed Islanders clear just over a minute in. 2:10 later, Anders Lee hunted down a rebound after a poorly handled rebound by Carter Hart. Lee smacked it home under Hart’s outstretched glove to tie the game at one.
Just over a minute later, the Islanders took the lead on a fantastically executed 3-on-2 by Brock Nelson, Anthony Beauvillier and Derick Brassard. Beauvillier took Matt Niskanen to the net, allowing Nelson and Brassard to exchange a few passes before Brassard beat Hart high from in tight.
Then, it was the fourth line’s turn. Cole Bardreau dumped the puck in, Oliver Wahlstrom threw a hit allowing Bardreau to grab the puck and sent it to Ross Johnston in the slot who tapped it home. Johnston also recorded a fight in the game.
Travis Konecny brought the Flyers within one before the period ended with a deflection of a Justin Braun point shot after a failed breakout by New York. In the second, the Islanders’ offense continued chugging, first with a clap-bomb by Ryan Pulock that Hart may have wanted back and then a breakaway goal by Mat Barzal to make it 5-2. Claude Giroux scored with under three minutes to go in regulation to make it a game but the Islanders held on to win their seventh straight game.
After some early struggles, the Islanders got back on track and finished October with a seven-game win streak. Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss alternated every game this month in goal for Barry Trotz. Mat Barzal holds the team lead in goals with five while Brock Nelson has the leads for assists and points with six and ten, respectively. The Islanders kick off November at home tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.