BEST: Josh Bailey’s deke.
WORST: Allowing two goals in eight seconds to Taylor Hall.
BEST: Solid play at home in the third period to hold on to the lead.
BEST: Killing off three consecutive penalties in the second period.
Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:After having trouble closing out in their first two home games of the year, the Islanders not only held serve but turned up the pressure late in tonight’s game against the Oilers. They controlled play through most of the third, out shooting Edmonton 15-8 in the final frame. They caught a nice break at the end too as Justin Schultz took a hooking penalty with just under two to go, keeping Edmonton from being able to conduct the 6-on-5 drill.
It wasn’t a full sixty minute effort but it was almost certainly the best this team has played during the young season. They controlled the play for most of the first period and out shot Edmonton 16-7 in that period. If not for a defensive lapse towards the end of the period, the score might not have been so close.
Taylor Hall potted two goals within eight seconds of each other near the 16:00 mark of the first period. Hall set an Oilers franchise record with the goals by besting the previous mark of nine seconds, summoning the ghost of Wayne Gretzky. Hall’s first goal was practically an empty netter. The Isles defense got caught out of position and Schultz sent a cross ice pass to Hall, with a flailing Nabokov having no shot. Off the ensuing faceoff, Hall potted a juicy rebound for his second of the night.
Prior to Hall’s tallies, Josh Bailey netted his third of the year off a nice feed from Travis Hamonic, who was behind the net. Early in the second Bailey also made a slick deke that got a huge reaction from the Coliseum crowd:
The game was tied 2-2 at that point, as the Islanders had previously tied it up on a power play goal from Kyle Okposo (already has half as many goals as he had all of last year). It was pretty tic-tac-toe passing, and Okposo took a quick feed from Matt Moulson, went down to one knee, and fired it past Edmonton’s Devan Dubnyk.
That’s when the Islanders ran into penalty trouble. Okposo, Hamonic and Moulson took consecutive penalties during the middle of the period and while the Islanders allowed eight shots and scrambled around a bit, the defense did hold. John Tavares would put them ahead with a powerplay goal with about a minute to go. He took a feed from Okposo in the slot, had time and space, and fired a laser high glove on Dubnyk. The kind of thing goaltenders nightmares are made of.
The Isles would control play through most of the third and continued to push all the way to the end. It was a nice change from the previous two games that were precarious and then the team eventually folded. The Isles pressed through most of the period and the Oilers really only had one or two serious chances in the final minutes.