Thanksgiving is gone and so is November. This month, the New York Islanders extended their point streak to historic lengths before losing it on a California road trip. Brocktober was extended while Beauvember was in full swing as Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier led the offense. New York went 9-2-2 this month and sits second in the Metropolitan Division despite being tied with Tampa Bay for the fewest games played. Before we finish 2019, let’s look back at the second month of the season.
The month started with the New York Islanders extending their win streak to eight games. The captain led the way with a goal and two assists as New York jumped all over Andrei Vasilevskiy. Josh Bailey’s third-period goal proved to be the game-winner as the Islanders scored five goals for the second straight contest.
The Islanders’ first shutout of the season came in Buffalo and it was the difference. Derick Brassard continued his hot streak playing with Brock Nelson, scoring from behind the net for the game’s only goal, extending his goal streak to five games. Semyon Varlamov stopped all 27 shots he faced.
In a rematch from 11 days earlier, the Islanders got the better of the Senators once again. Thomas Greiss turned in a 27-save performance of his own while Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck each scored and had the primary assist on the others’ goal. The highlight of the night, however, was Cole Bardreau scoring his first career NHL goal on a penalty shot in the second period. Did I mention this win got the streak to double digits?
10-game winning streak. 3-0 lead to begin the third. What could go wrong? Everything. Capped off by an Evgeni Malkin rebound tally where he outmuscled Johnny Boychuk in next to the goal, the Penguins scored three unanswered in the first nine minutes of the third period to force overtime. The New York Islanders tried to play the possession game but persistent Pittsburgh pressure forced them into their own end. Bryan Rust picked Brock Nelson’s pocket behind New York’s net and wrapped it around and in, stunning the Brooklyn crowd. It was a crushing defeat and although the winning streak was over, the point streak was not.
In the best goaltending battle New York has seen all year, Greiss and Sergei Bobrovsky combined to stop 71 of 74 shots the reached the net all night. 38 seconds after Aleksander Barkov tied the game at one on the power play, Scott Mayfield sent the puck to the slot where it ramped up off of Florida’s Mike Matheson and then hit the stick of his defense partner, Anton Stralman, before finding twine. It was one of the strangest goals of the year but it was the game-winner as the Islanders got right back into the win column.
Nothing is easy. After Cizikas seemingly put the Leafs away with an empty-netter to make the score 5-2 with under two and a half minutes to go, Justin Holl sped in and got a wrap-around to go and then John Tavares potted a rebound with 48 seconds left to give the Islanders a scare. New York was able to hang on and the empty-netter went down as the game-winner.
Down 3-0 with under 13 minutes to go? Not a problem for the Islanders. Anthony Beauvillier scored twice, including the tying goal with just over two minutes to play, to force overtime and preserve the point streak. Brock Nelson continued to show he is the top-center Barry Trotz loves, centering Beauvillier and Brassard to create a dynamic line. This one took a shootout where New York shooters went two-for-two as Jordan Eberle and Mat Barzal both beat Brian Elliot while Greiss stopped both Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier.
Multi-goal comeback in Pennsylvania, where have we heard that before? Down two with under five minutes to go, Bailey’s slot shot brought New York back to within one after the elite winger got lost in coverage Eberle found him. Ryan Pulock blasted a shot past Matt Murray with Varlamov at the bench to tie it. In overtime, Beauvember and Brocktober combined as Beauvillier knocked down a clearing attempt and made a pass to Brock Nelson who followed up his initial shot and banged home the rebound for his second tally of the night. The Islanders tied a franchise record with a 15-game point streak and got revenge on the Pens for ending the winning streak. More impressively, they became were the first ever team to win consecutive games when trailing by multiple goals in the last seven minutes of both contests.
On the back end of a home-and-home, New York had to battle back after falling behind 1-0 in the first and 2-1 in the second. After New York took the lead in the third, Patric Hornqvist tied it with 30 seconds to go. For the third time this month, the Islanders and Penguins would head to overtime. On Brocktober 52nd, Brock Nelson scored his second goal of the game in overtime for the second straight game to give New York the win once again. It was also his 500th career NHL game. In this game, the Islanders set a new franchise record for longest point streak with 16 games as they prepared to head to California for their annual three-game road trip.
All of the regulation scoring in this one was done in a 27-second stretch in the second period. After Marcus Sorensen tapped on a two-on-one opportunity, Cizikas deflected home an Adam Pelech shot to tie it. While the point streak continued, Logan Couture banged home a one-timer after Evander Kane outmuscled Eberle on the sideboards. It was a rough start to a road trip that was about to get much worse.
In what was the dud of the month, New York went into Anaheim and got shutout by John Gibson and the Ducks. It was 1-0 late into the third but the Islanders collapsed as Cam Fowler and Ondrej Kase scored to put the game out of reach. After a strong first 20 minutes, the Islanders managed just ten shots for the rest of the contest. The point streak ended New York was shutout for the first time this season.
A close second for dud of the month, the New York Islanders went into LA after two days off and were outplayed by the struggling Kings. Brassard scored first but that lead would last just 64 seconds when Dustin Brown tied it for LA. They add three more throughout the rest of the game and the Islanders limped back to New York after a 0-2-1 road trip.
The best medicine for a struggling team is sometimes home cooking. For the Islanders, this proved to be true. In their last game of the month, two days after Thanksgiving, New York’s goaltenders combined for a 39-save shutout as Thomas Greiss came out about 14 minutes in as he wasn’t feeling well.
Semyon Varlamov had to stop thinking about popcorn and start thinking about stopping pucks and he did his job perfectly with 30 saves. Anders Lee snapped his 11-game goalless drought in the first to open the scoring 1:18 while Mat Barzal added in the second, out racing Oliver Bjorkstrand to an Adam Pelech flip before stashing the puck underneath the bar on the backhand. A huge bounce-back win ends the month for the New York Islanders and, hopefully, the captain can get back on track.
It was a historic month with a rocky road trip but a sweet finish. The goalie rotation continued while Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier shone in November. The final 14 games of 2019 begin on Dec. 2 when New York travels to Detroit to face the Red Wings.