The Islanders have had struggles defensively as of late, playing poorly in the defensive zone the past few games. Tonight’s showing showed the Islanders are still (If not top 3) the best team in the league for defending.
First Period Impressions In Islanders Win
The Islanders and Caps came out and had momentum swings throughout the period. Vitek Vanecek made a plethora of saves throughout the period and the night, stopping 36 out of 37. The Islanders had solid opportunities in the first, with Noah Dobson ringing the puck off the post. The Islanders controlled the pace for the majority of the time, with 12 shots compared to the Caps’ 7. An injury scare arose for the Islanders as Adam Pelech blocked a shot which resulted in Pelech crawling to the bench in pain. Pelech would later return to the ice. Both teams had solid scoring chances but were shut down by the stars of the night, the goalies. At the end of the goalie showoff, Varlamov and the Islanders came out with the win.
Second Period Impressions In Islanders Win
The Capitals came out of the dressing room and stole the pace from the Islanders, controlling the period. With 12 shots in the period compared to the Isles’ 7, the Capitals had more scoring chances with the momentum. With solid saves from Varlamov and the shutdown ability of the Islanders’ defense, the Capitals were held to no goals. The Islanders did not have the pace and momentum they had in the first, but they were still able to have a few solid scoring opportunities. A Jordan Eberle shot tipped off the post before going into the corner, this was the first of 2 times Eberle hit the post tonight. Even with Eberle’s bad luck the Islanders found a way to win
Third Period Impressions In Islanders Win
The momentum swung back to the Islanders in the third period, with dominant puck possession time and even better defense. With the Islanders controlling the game in the third, the play and momentum generated resulted in a goal for Brock Nelson. In that goal, longtime Islander Josh Bailey picked up his 500th NHL point, all as a member of the New York Islander. With solid effort late in the game, the Islanders picked up points number 53 and 54 on the season and tie the Capitals for first in the East Division after the win.
With solid performances by the Islanders’ defense, they were able to win the game with only a single goal. Brock Nelson notched his team-leading 14th goal on the season, passing Eberle and Mat Barzal. Semyon Varlamov picks up his 4th shutout of the year, continuing his Vezina caliber season.