2019 has come to a close and the New York Islanders are already three months into the 2019-20 campaign. This was the most trying month for the Isles so far yet they still sit second in the Metropolitan Division after an 8-5-1 month. Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle contributed tremendously but the goaltending was shaky down the stretch, leading to the end of the rotation. As the 2020s begin, let’s take a look back at the last month of the 2010s.
Dec. 2: Islanders: 4, Detroit: 1 at Little Caesars Arena
The Isles began the month in Detroit against the struggling Detroit Red Wings. Eberle scored twice, his first two of the season, while Lee potted a goal and an assist. The Islanders extended the Wings losing streak to eight games.
Dec. 3: Montreal: 4, Islanders: 2 at Bell Centre
The Canadiens came in on an eight-game winless streak (0-5-3) and the Isles had given up one goal in their last two games. Unfortunately for them, the Habs would go up 3-0 before New York could even get on the board in the third. With the win, Montreal ended their longest winless drought since 2002-03.
Dec. 5: Islanders: 3, Vegas: 2 (OT) at NYCB Live
The Islanders were unable to pull away from the Golden Knights all game long. Every time New York would score, Vegas would answer. Fortunately, Ryan Pulock potted the sudden death goal on the power play to give the Isles their third and final lead of the night.
Dec. 7: Dallas: 3, Islanders: 1 at American Airlines Center
The New York Islanders began a three-game road trip against a Dallas team who was winless in their past four games (0-3-1). Like in Montreal, the Isles were down 3-0 before getting on the board in the third period. Ben Bishop’s 34 save performance helped guide the Stars to victory.
Dec. 9: Islanders: 5, Tampa Bay: 1 at Amalie Arena
The Islanders have had Tampa’s number throughout 2019. New York is 3-0-1 against the Bolts this calendar year with their only loss coming via the shootout. In their three wins, New York has scored five times each and this game was no different. Brock Nelson helped put the game away with two third period goals as New York rolled to its 20th win of the season.
Dec. 12: Islanders: 3, Florida: 1 at BB&T Center
The power play took center stage in Sunrise as the Isles swept the Florida portion of their road trip. Devon Toews and Mat Barzal each scored on the man-advantage to give New York a 2-0 lead early in the second. Thomas Greiss made 32 stops in the victory. It was New York’s final game against the Panthers this season as they swept the season series.
Dec. 14: Islanders: 3, Buffalo: 2 (OT) at NYCB Live
It looked like the Isles were destined for a regulation victory in a chippy game. Unfortunately for New York, their star got into a bit of trouble. With Mat Barzal in the box and under two minutes to go, Jack Eichel scored to tie the game and extend his point streak to 16 games. Fortunately for the Islanders, Anthony Beauvillier bailed him out in overtime, scoring to give the Islanders the overtime victory.
Dec. 17: Nashville: 8, Islanders: 3 at NYCB Live
It was all fun and games when the Islanders scored three straight goals, capped off by Casey Cizikas’ shorthanded goal to make the score 3-1. Then, Nashville went on a run of their own. Seven straight to close the game. Semyon Varlamov relieved Thomas Greiss in the third period. It was ugly.
Dec. 19: Islanders: 3, Boston: 2 (SO) at TD Garden
In one of the best games of the season so far, the New York Islanders ended a seven-game losing streak to the Bruins. Former Bruin Johnny Boychuk had a goal and an assist, and Varlamov came up with a save of the year candidate, all of this on national TV. It was a huge bounce-back game, but the good feelings wouldn’t last long.
Dec. 21: Anaheim: 6, Islanders: 5 (SO) at NYCB Live
This one was a back-and-forth affair with neither team taking a multi-goal lead at any point during the game. The game went into the shootout, and Ducks all-star Jakob Siflverberg scored the shootout winner, and the Islanders were swept by the Ducks for the second time in three seasons. This game was also the first time New York has lost when scoring at least four goals under Barry Trotz.
Dec. 23: Columbus: 3, Islanders: 2 at NYCB Live
It was another tight game that New York came out on the wrong side of. Vladislav Gavrikov slotted home the game-winner with under three and a half minutes to play after a defensive lapse to give the Blue Jackets the win and hand the Islanders their third straight home loss.
Dec. 27: Chicago: 5, Islanders: 2 at United Center
In the first game against former Islander Robin Lehner, New York couldn’t keep up. After Ross Johnston opened the scoring, the Blackhawks answered with three of their own before the first period was finished. It was another ugly game for the Isles as they failed to take advantage of one of the worst teams in the West. Lehner made 38 saves in the win.
Dec. 29: Islanders: 3, Minnesota: 1 at Xcel Energy Center
The bottom-six scoring came through for the Islanders as they get a much-needed victory. Leo Komarov sent a pass from the corner to Matt Martin, who potted the game-winning goal, and Tom Kuhnhackl scored his first of the season. For the first time in a while, the Islanders looked like the Islanders that fans know and love and they got the result they wanted.
Dec. 31: Islanders: 4, Washington: 3 at Capital One Arena
The best way to end the month, year and decade. The Islanders march into Washington and defeat the NHL-leading Capitals in a sloppy game. New York scored the first two and last two goals of the game to get the victory. Semyon Varlamov made his case to replace the injured Joonas Korpisalo at the NHL All-Star game with 36 saves, many on quality scoring chances
A historic 2019 is over but the season continues in 2020. The New York Islanders begin the next decade on Dec. 2, hosting the rival New Jersey Devils.