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New York Islanders Weekly Recap (1/23-1/29)


The New York Islanders went 2-2 in their final week of play before the All-Star break. Their horrible stretch of play continued in their short Canadian road trip, dropping games against the Maple Leafs and Senators. However, they managed to return home and pick up two hard fought wins against the Red Wings and Golden Knights to end the first half on a high note. Even with the four points gained, the Islanders 55 points keeps them firmly out of the final playoff spot. They remain in close competition with the Penguins, Panthers and Sabres for that final postseason slot.  

Islanders Lose to the Leafs with a Second Period Meltdown 

New York Islanders Weekly Recap
Courtesy of NHLI via Getty Images

The Islanders started this week on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They received some positive news pregame with the return of Adam Pelech and Kyle Palmieri. They also played a high energy first period where they outshot the Maple Leafs 12-6 to start. Anders Lee scored the only goal of the period, punching in a puck that bounced off the post. 

But as has become common, the second period was an absolute mess. William Nylander tied the game at one after a nice backdoor pass from John Tavares to tie the game at one. It took a minute for the Islanders to respond, with Lee scoring his second of the game on a one-timer to take the 2-1 lead. That would be their last response, as the Maple Leafs tore control of this game away from the Isles. At 7:53, Tavares beat Ilya Sorokin one on one with his backhand to score a game tying, power play goal. 

Not too long after, Calle Jarnkrok got a breakaway of his own and ripped one by Sorokin to give the Maple Leafs their first lead. The period was capped off by Nylander scoring his second of the game to give his team a 4-2 lead. The Isles were burned by a breakaway again in the third, with Auston Matthews scoring to take a commanding three goal lead. As for the Islanders offense, they were held scoreless in the third for a 10th consecutive game. Ilya Samsonov made 31 saves to help the Maple Leafs hand the Islanders their fifth straight loss with a 5-2 final score.

Offense Falls Flat in Loss to Senators

New York Islanders Weekly Recap
Courtesy of The Canadian Press

Wednesday’s contest saw the Islanders visit the Senators in Ottawa. It would be the home team striking first in this one, with Shane Pinto tipping in a shot past Semyon Varlamov to give the Senators the lead. The Senators doubled their lead in dramatic fashion early into the second period. While on a power play, Claude Giroux took a diving shot from the circle to net a power play goal. Scott Mayfield took the delay of game penalty that set up Giroux’s power play goal. 

It took the Islanders until the final five minutes of the second to finally respond. Brock Nelson managed to find a rebounded puck and score from the slot to tally the first and only Islanders goal of the game. Aside from Nelson’s goal, the Isles were plagued by the same issues affecting them over the last month. They got nothing out of three power play opportunities and got shutout in the third period for an 11th straight game. This 2-1 loss to the Senators marked the sixth straight loss for the Islanders. 

Islanders Snap Their Losing Streak Against the Red Wings

New York Islanders Weekly Recap
Courtesy of NHLI via Getty Images

The Islanders returned home to play the Red Wings on Friday night. This had the makings of another ugly game early on. The offense was sputtering and again squandered a couple opportunities on the power play in the first. However, the Islanders were able to strike first in the second period. While Lee was flat on his stomach, he managed to tip in a shot from Nelson past Magnus Hellberg’s five hole for the lead. 

That would be the only tally until the third period came along. Normally the third period brings about an Islanders’ collapse, but this game proved to be different. For the first time in 11 games, the Isles finally were able to get a goal in the third. Nelson launched a deep shot from the blue line to take a 2-0 lead. They took care of business in their own end to keep the Red Wings off the board and secure a 2-0 win to break out of a six game slide. Sorokin’s 23 save shutout marked his fourth of the season, tied for second in the NHL. 

 It was far from a perfect game, with the offense still at a minimum and the power play still an absolute disaster. But it was a much needed win amidst a terrible stretch of play over the last month. 

Islanders Beat the Golden Knights in Overtime For Second Straight Win

Courtesy of ESPN

In the final game before the All-Star break, the Islanders took on the Golden Knights at UBS Arena. Much like the night prior, scoring was very scarce in this game. And yet again, the Islanders would strike first in the second period, courtesy of Lee. He tipped in a loose puck off the stick off of a falling Palmieri to give the Isles the lead. The Golden Knights very nearly tied the game on a power play shortly afterwards, but Varlamov made a highlight reel sliding stick save on Reilly Smith to preserve the lead. The Golden Knights would eventually respond later in the period, when William Carrier got a wide open look in front of Varlamov to tie the game. 

The Islanders very nearly had another big collapse in this game. They were outshot 21-6 throughout the third period and overtime. But Varlamov’s 44 save performance helped guide the Isles to an eventual overtime win. Mat Barzal would be the overtime hero, scoring a beautiful wrist shot past Logan Thompson for the 2-1 win. The Islanders go into the All-Star break on a two game win streak after a really rough month of hockey. 


The offensive attack continued to have some really significant struggles throughout this week. They couldn’t find more than two goals in any of their four games and went 0-for-10 on the power play. It’s gotten so bad that their power play percentage is ranked 31st in the league, only marginally better than the Canadiens. To the Islanders credit, they did get two tough wins in the classic Islanders way with quality goaltending and defense. But this is still very obviously a team with significant problems at their core. 

As we venture into the All-Star break, the Islanders have a lot of questions surrounding their status. They’re technically still in the playoff hunt, and Lou Lamoriello doubled down on his belief in this core during his press availability. But at the same rate, it’s very hard to believe that the Islanders are going to be able to stay afloat with the level of play that’s been on display as of late. It’s a tough situation, and only time will tell what will become of this year’s Islanders team. For now, it’ll be enjoyable to take a little break and watch Nelson and Sorokin participate in the All-Star festivities down in Florida. 

3 Stars of the Week

1. Anders Lee: 4 goals

2. Kyle Palmieri: 5 assists after missing a month of play

3. Brock Nelson: 2 goals, 3 assists 


Featured image courtesy of Twitter/@NYIslanders

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