Islanders Edge: Barzal nets hat trick, Isles soar past Caps
photo credit: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images
By no means are the New York Islanders known for their scoring. Thursday night at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum was everything the Islanders aren’t known for.
The Washington Capitals came to town and looked to grow their lead in the MassMutual East Division standings over New York.
Just thirty seconds into the game, Capitals forward TJ Oshie collided with goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who left the game and returned later. 1:01 into the first period, John Carlson opened up scoring for the Caps. Tom Wilson (14) and Connor Sheary (6) recorded assists. New York took some time to get going, and they did just that. 5:02 in, Jordan Eberle beat Caps backup goalie Vitek Vanecek for his twelfth goal of the season. Leo Komarov (4) and Mathew Barzal (19) picked up assists. New York outshot Washington 13-7 in the first, found the back of the net, and took their first lead of the night 16:09 in. Mathew Barzal took the puck coast to coast and beat Vanecek upstairs for a highlight-reel goal, his eleventh of the season. 1:23 later, Brock Nelson scored his thirteenth goal of the season. Josh Bailey picked up his sixteenth assist of the year. The Capitals would not go away quietly, though. Just twenty-two seconds after Nelson’s goal, Daniel Sprong notched his seventh goal of the season. Lars Eller (8) got the lone assist on the goal. Barry Trotz’s determined first line buzzed all night and had the last laugh in the first frame. 18:54 into the period, Barzal scored another goal, his twelfth of the season. Eberle (11) and Scott Mayfield got the helpers.
3:03 into the second period, Casey Cizikas gave the Isles a 5-2 lead. Cal Clutterbuck picked up an assist. Oshie scored 6:47 in, making the score 5-3. Alexander Ovechkin (13) and Nicklas Backstrom (25) picked up assists. Eberle netted another goal 8:08 in, giving the Isles back their three-goal lead. Barzal (20) and Andy Greene (3) picked up assists on the goal. New York outshot the Caps once again in the second, recording 9 shots compared to Washington’s 7. 19:01 in, Carlson scored his second of the game. Jakub Vrana (13) Sprong (5) got the assists on the goal.
Just 3:13 into the third period, Bailey scored his sixth goal of the season. Nelson (9) and Anthony Beauvillier (6) also got on the scoresheet. 18:54 into the third and final regulation frame, Barzal capped off the hat trick and picked up his fifth point of the night, scoring a beautiful goal, hitting the puck out of mid-air. How fitting on Opening Day! Bailey (17) and Scott Mayfield (10) were awarded assists. After the buzzer, Zdeno Chara and Matt Martin dropped the gloves, something they also did on March 19th, 2019, when Chara was still a Boston Bruin.
Though their goaltender Semyon Varlamov would have liked to have stopped a few more shots, the Islanders did a great job on Thursday night. They are now in a three-way tie for first place in the MassMutual East Division. They will need to continue to score goals and fire on all cylinders to stay hot and stand their ground in the tight standings.
The boys in blue and orange will take on the struggling Philadelphia Flyers at the Coliseum on Saturday. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM Eastern Time.