Islanders Edge: Wahlstrom, Isles edge Devils, extend point streak to 5
(PHOTO COURTESY: EYES ON ISLES/FANSIDED)
A battle of youth and veterans vs. youth and veterans is always a blast. Physical, down to the wire hockey with very little space and error to work with. Tuesday night in Newark was no different. Riding a four-game point streak coming into this game, the New York Islanders looked to build off a solid team victory abasing the Pittsburgh Penguins last Sunday. Also riding a four-game point streak going into Tuesday night was young Isles sniper Oliver Wahlstrom. Two teams mixed with young talent and veterans were bound for a fast-paced game with a lot of physicality and tight defense.
Out of the gate, New York had its best start, perhaps all year. Giving the Devils nothing and creating tons of offensive opportunities, the Islanders did everything well except score. Both teams were held scoreless in the first period, with New York outshooting New Jersey 8-4.
The second frame was the exact opposite of the first. New Jersey came out flying. The defense and swift back-checking by Isles forwards kept the game scoreless, with help from Isles goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who has continued his stellar play. New York was outshot 16-5 in the second but stayed in the game. As the game progressed, it became evident that gritty hockey would award one of these teams the two points.
Looking for a bounce-back period, Barry Trotz got exactly that. 1:10 into the third period, Oliver Wahlstrom sniped one past Devils goaltender Aaron Dell. With this highlight-reel goal, “Wally” is now on a five-game point streak and is on pace for over forty goals in a regular 82-game NHL regular season. Jean-Gabriel Pageau recorded his fifth assist on the season, and defenseman Nick Leddy has continued his point-producing year, recording his fourteenth assist. Determined to keep applying the pressure, New York kept creating chances, and despite getting outshot 9-7 in the final frame, Anders Lee made the score 2-0 at 7:51. Andy Greene (2) and Mathew Barzal (11) both picked up assists.
New York kept the defense tight. The Isles hit the post of the Devils’ empty net twice and never scored in it. They kept the perimeter secure, closed lanes, and slowed New Jersey down, but Miles Wood put the Islanders under pressure at 19:46 in. With less than fifteen seconds remaining, Wood tallied his seventh goal of the year from in front of the net on assists from Yegor Sharangovich (2) and Nikita Gusev (3). From there, New York was able to finish the job and add to their win column efficiently. The final score was 2-1. The boys in blue and orange are now 7-2-1 in their last ten games.
Trotz’s Isles have finally found their long-awaited sniper. After a rough AHL season last year, Wahlstrom has established his NHL game and has been unstoppable of late. Trotz now has two red hot goaltenders to look to as well. The Isles are firing on all cylinders right now and will continue to do so and get even better as more young talent develops and the core continues to shine and gel together. We are seeing a preview of just how lethal this group could be moving forward.
New York looks to extend their point streak to six as they take on the struggling Sabres once again on Thursday at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum; puck drop is set for 7:00 PM Eastern Time. Thursday also marks the beginning of a five-game homestead on Long Island.