I went into last night’s game thinking that the New York Islanders had already earned the “Success!” label for their glove week Stanley Cup contenders by defeating two of their division rivals, the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes, in the regulations. Even though they lost to Colorado avalanche, it would have been a very good week overall. When they fell 3-0 down I was a bit behind but still leaned on what I said when I came in. They have already far exceeded my expectations for the week and have already prevented the worst case scenario of 2-7, as I feared before.
Then they came out and were even more successful than I could have imagined. A comeback of three goals against the defending champions, including four goals in the third period? Get out of there. Certainly not!
Way. And now the Isles are back above traditional and in the NHL’s .500 after winning three straight in regulation against three consecutive Cup teams, each more impressive than the last.
About last night:
- I so want to definitely declare them “back”, but Dom is probably right not to know what to think of this team after an extremely eventful first nine games of the season. One thing is for sure, though: the games are going to be a lot more fun overall. UBS Arena exploded in a way I hadn’t seen before — and hadn’t seen since Game 6 of the 2021 semi-final — when Anthony Beauvillier gave them the lead. Beau knows big goals. [LHH]
- After the Avs’ third goal, Lane Lambert called a time out and confirmed that they had played well and could and would return. Noah Dobson scored on the next shift, and the rest was history. Moreover, Semyon Varlamov locked himself in after three quick goals against. [Newsday]
- An underrated part of the attacking burst: two more goals by the defender. Dobson put the Islands on the board and juiced up the team and the crowd, and Scott Mayfield was the recipient of Mathew Barzal’s stellar change and is watching the tying goal. [3 Takeaways]
- I’ve tried to find a clip of the full shift and haven’t succeeded yet, but here’s the longest I’ve seen so far; he at least captures Barzal’s endgame, recovering his own shot and drawing four (!) Avs defenders towards him, leaving Mayfield wide open at the bottom.
- The shorthanded streak is over, but the game was touted as the league’s best power play against the league’s best shorthanded. So if the streak should break, that was the most honorable way to do it, and it’s the only way they dropped. Additionally, Zach Parise, who scored the second goal, had nine shots on goal; Dobson had ten attempts, five of which hit the net. [Rapid Recap]
- Hey, the comeback against the Cup champions even earned the Islanders the top spot on NHL dot com. “Isle Take That” is the title of the dek. [NHL]
- Whenever there’s a big comeback or another big piece of history in a given game, Eric Hornick’s Skinny becomes even more essential. And it was one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the islands. [NYI Skinny]
- Lambert said the Islanders did the “little things” and that helped them do better. [NY Post]
- Similarly, players reported that the system came more naturally to them. And the excitement pushed that resolve gene that they showed when they fell behind in 2020 and 2021. [The Athletic]
- Before the puck dropped, the Islanders honored Josh Bailey for dressing up the night before in his 1,000th game. He earned the framed 1,000m jersey and silver baton, and three generations of his family joined him on the ice. It was a beautiful ceremony. [Newsday]
- Devon Toews, who got an assist on Colorado’s third goal (and misplayed the odd-man rush that led the Isles to the lead), had faced the Islanders before and been to UBS Arena , but now he’s a Stanley Cup champion. The players of the Isles were happy for him although a little jealous.[Newsday]
- Toews chatted with Shannon Hogan during the second intermission and discussed Bailey’s 1,000th game, speaking warmly of him and describing him as a “second father,” even though Bailey is less than five years older. [Twitter]
- The Baby Isles scored six goals for the second night in a row, but this time they won! And in seven games, Ruslan Iskhakov has seven goals and eleven points as an AHL rookie (although a bit older than most AHL rookies). [B-Isles]
- A lot has happened in 50 years of Islanders hockey. We all know the big moments, of course, but what about some underrated oddities? Noel Fogelman delves into one of them, specifically the ‘single purpose’ club. [LHH Isles50]
- It seems that Sean Couturier’s initial prognosis was correct, as he will eventually undergo back surgery. [NHL] He will miss 3-4 months. There must be some concern considering this is his second back surgery. [The Athletic]
- Justin Holl, defender of the Toronto Maple Leafs, struggled under the pressure. Plus, Barry Trotz’s comments this week surely raised eyebrows around the NHL offices. To combine those thoughts with some speculation: it looks like the Leafs are firing Sheldon Keefe and replacing him with Barry Trotz, doesn’t it? [Sportsnet]
- Now comes the article where the Leafs lost their faith in California, which was common ten years ago when all three were elite hockey teams. For that to happen now doesn’t look good, even taking into account travel across the continent. Their character is therefore called into question. I love it. [Sporstnet]
- Larry Brooks chimes in on “competitive balance” in the calendar. Not only are there only three Battle of New York games; there are also only three Battles of Pennsylvania and Battles of Alberta. Additionally, Brooksie compares the current Leafs and their abject wandering so far to the 1980 Islanders, a similarly elite team that, by then, had failed in the playoffs and meandered through most of the next season. regular. [NY Post]
- Goaltender Devan Dubnyk has officially retired from the NHL after playing 12 seasons. The Islanders were good in 2014-15, so I was paying close attention to hockey when Dubnyk, ten seasons from being a first-round pick and wearing the big “bust” tag, was traded to the Minnesota Wild late this season for a seventh-round pick and turned his career around completely. Good road. [NHL]
- During the Battle of Alberta, Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau came off the bench in the first period but returned. Darryl Sutter took the time to explain why: