- Isaac Brendel
Islanders Edge: Varlamov Stays Undefeated, tops Devils 4-1
photo credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The New York Islanders are on a roll, defeating red hot Jack Hughes and the New Jersey Devils 4-1 at Nassau Live Center Thursday. Though the Devils had the first two shots of the game, the Isles got off to a quick start, recording 15 shots in the first twenty minutes of play. Mathew Barzal opened up scoring 4:43 into the first period with an absolute snipe over Devils goaltender Scott Wedgewood's right shoulder. Noah Dobson and Josh Bailey both recorded assists on Barzal’s second of the year. Barry Trotz’s Isles continued to dictate the pace of play, and with just twenty-one seconds remaining in the 1st period, Anders Lee came off a dogged effort against PK Subban along the boards and set up Jordan Eberle. The broken play led to Eberle’s first goal of the game and first of the season. Barzal was credited with the secondary assist on the goal.
Though the Devils were sluggish in the first frame, the second period's beginning was much different. 2:10 into the second period, Nathan Bastian beat Varlamov stick side to end his 142:10 shutout streak. Ty Smith picked up his third assist and fourth point of the year. The Isles rang a few posts in the second but did not score. Just 1:56 into the third period on the power play, Jordan Eberle scored his second of the night, with Barzal and Dobson both picking up another assist. Just minutes later, the Islanders went back to the power play on a too many men call. Brock Nelson tallied his second goal of the season at 5:16 of the third period, and the Isles recorded their second power-play goal of the night, something they have struggled mightily with in the past couple of seasons. Nick Leddy and Jean-Gabriel Pageau both recorded assists on Nelson’s power-play goal.
Young stud Noah Dobson played maybe his best game of the year and perhaps his NHL career. Jordan Eberle was on his game tonight, and the first line as a whole was buzzing. Though he did not get on the score sheet, Kieffer Bellows looked very solid. The Isles displayed the depth they have tonight and just how good and dangerous they can be when given chances. More often than not, the Isles will have success if they continue to play this way, and it only gets better from here. With the emergence of young talent like Kieffer Bellows, Oliver Wahlstrom, Noah Dobson, and of course “The White Whale,” Russian phenom goaltender Ilya Sorokin. Tonight we saw what we could expect from the New York Islanders in the coming days, weeks, months, and years.
The Isles play the Devils again on Sunday at “The Rock” in Newark, puck drop is set for 7:00 PM Eastern time.