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Islanders Weekly Recap (11/4-11/20)

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Unfortunately there were no triumphant comeback victories for the New York Islanders to highlight over this past week. They did start the week strong, taking care of business on the road against the Ottawa Senators in a 4-2 victory. However, they then proceeded to lose the next two games on the road against the Nashville Predators (5-4) and Dallas Stars (5-2). It’s the first time the Islanders lost back to back contests in nearly a month. 

The Only Win

Courtesy of Getty Images

The lone win in this week’s slate of games came against the Ottawa Senators on Monday. Contrary to this year’s standard, the Islanders struck first in this one courtesy of a first period Wahlstrom power play goal. The Senators struck back with a 5 on 3 goal off the stick of Drake Batherson in the second period. That was one of four penalties taken by the Islanders in the period and six throughout the entire game. The penalty kill came up extremely clutch in this game and played a huge role in the victory. Goals by Dobson in the second and by Pageau on a third period power play proved to be the difference makers in this contest. It was not the cleanest win by any means, but one the Isles needed to get against a struggling Senators team. 

Incomplete Games Cost the Islanders

Islanders Week Recap
Courtesy of Getty Images

There was a running theme of incomplete games in the two losses the Islanders suffered this week. Take for example the horrific start they had in Nashville. For the first period and half of the second, the Predators had complete control. They completely outpaced the Islanders and dominated play, taking a fast 4-1 lead. However, the Islanders turned it around and very nearly made another valiant comeback. But all it took was one more power play goal from the Predators to keep the Islanders at bay. If it weren’t for such a slow start, the Islanders easily could’ve had this win with the way they outplayed Nashville in the later stages of this game. 

The Islanders had a similar problem against the Stars. This time they got off to a better start, working a tie throughout the first two periods of the game. But they unraveled in the third period, failing to convert an early power play chance with the game tied followed by letting up three consecutive goals to the Stars. It was yet another game that boiled down to a single bad period costing them potential points. These incomplete games are becoming a concerning trend for the Islanders in an otherwise great month of hockey for the team. 

Mat Barzal Finally Hits Pay-dirt

Islanders Week Recap
Courtesy of Twitter/IslesMSGN

At this point it comes at no surprise that Barzal isn’t a player who specializes in goal scoring. However his preference to set up scoring chances rather than score himself was taken to a record breaking level. Heading into Saturday’s game against the Stars, Barzal registered 18 assists without a goal. Per Kevin Kurz, the only Islander to record more assists before scoring their first goal was defenseman Gary Nylund, who recorded 21 assists. That would give Barzal the sole record amongst Islanders forwards in the somewhat odd department. 

That strange record finally came to end when the Islanders played the Stars on Saturday. Barzal scored his first goal of the year by tipping in a Romanov shot taken from the left circle. But he didn’t settle for just one. Later in the same period on the power play, Barzal took a pass from Nelson into the slot and deposited a wrister past Oettinger. Barzal is already a valuable asset through the goals he creates with his elite playmaking ability. But adding that scoring touch makes him an even more dangerous weapon for the Isles to have on the offensive end. Hopefully breaking that long drought helps give him more confidence in his goal scoring ability going forwards.

3 Stars of the Week

1. Mat Barzal (1 goal, 1 PPG, 3 power play assists)

2. J.G. Pageau (1 goal, 1 PPG, 1 assist, game winner vs. Senators)

3. Anders Lee (3 power play assists, one in each game)

Credits

Featured image courtesy of Andrew Nelles/ The Tennessean

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