While New York locked up a playoff spot over the weekend, the Islanders still have a lot to play for. Seeding in the East Division is crucial. All four of the teams in the division have a chance to make a run. Without a doubt, the Isles, Caps, Penguins, and Bruins are going to be tough outs in the playoffs. Every point at this juncture matters. And the Isles are having a tough time getting them. Against the Sabres of all teams, too.
Islanders Get Scoring From Unexpected Players
Lately, the Isles have struggled to score goals more than normal. It has almost felt like the Islanders have forgotten that the puck has to cross the goal-line in order for them to score. Tonight, they actually got some production, though.
The Isles’ goal-scoring was led off by Anthony Beauvillier with assists from Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey. That goal made it 1-1 because of Cody Eakin‘s ice-breaking goal just 26 seconds earlier. Beauvillier’s 14th goal of the season continues yet another hot streak for the centerman. Isles fans can only hope he will continue.
In the second period, the postman Ryan Pulock got his second goal of the season from Ross Johnston and Cal Clutterbuck. That goal came at 3:44 of the period. It was nice to see Pulock getting on the board again considering the sheer number of posts that he has hit in 2021. His shot is insane, but he just can’t tend to beat the post. Tonight, he managed to, though.
Anders Bjork Shines Late
It is fairly safe to say that Anders Bjork had a good night tonight. From the time that the Islanders grabbed the 3-1 lead, Bjork took complete control. You could even argue that Bjork and Houser are the only two reasons that the Sabres won this game in the first place.
Bjork kicked off his stellar night by scoring with just 2:23 left in the second. The assists on the goal went to Victor Olafsson and his former Bruins teammate Colin Miller. That would make it 3-2 good guys.
Later on, he would score again to tie the game at 3-3. This time, only Victor Olafsson got an assist.
From there, this game was destined for overtime. Once it got there, there were a number of chances for both sides to win it, as there typically are in today’s NHL regular-season overtimes. Neither team could score the game-winner, though, so it was on to the shootout.
Of course, the only goal scorer in the shootout was Mr. Bjork. Why wouldn’t it be? He was insane for the Sabres tonight.
Between Bjork’s performance and Houser’s 45 saves between regulation and OT, the Sabres managed to come back and beat the Isles 4-3 in the shootout.
The Isles have just three tune-ups before the playoffs. Two more against New Jersey and one against Boston before the playoffs. These next three games may not be able to signal an elimination for the Isles, but it goes without saying that they would like to gain six more points and go into the playoffs playing well. All Islanders fans can hope for right now is a turnaround from their team before the Stanley Cup Playoffs.