One of the biggest questions coming into the season would be where the New York Islanders goal scoring would come from. While that was an issue in their season opener against the Washington Capitals in a 2-1 loss, they were able to generate a plethora of chances Sunday night in a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
The Islanders played both of their games in the newly renovated Coliseum though the game against the Jets was scheduled for the Barclays Center. That didn’t stop Islander fans from coming out and supporting their team for the first of a three-game homestand to begin the season.
The lone goal in the Islanders’ first game came off a triple deflection after Devon Toews threw a puck toward the net that hit three different Capitals before going into the net. In their second game, they scored their first power-play goal of the season from Josh Bailey and got goals from Brock Nelson, Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier to earn their first two points of 2019-20.
It comes as no surprise to see Nelson score in October as he has made a habit of it throughout his NHL career. In 62 career games during the month, he has scored 45 points. For Beauvillier. that has not always been the case. He struggled to score early last year seeing him spend time in the minors before finishing the season just short of 20 goals.
While their penalty kill was sharp, they nearly had chances to extend their lead as both Leo Komarov and Nelson came in with shorthanded breakaways, but goaltender Laurent Brossoit made a couple of highlight real saves keeping the Jets within striking distance.
Semyon Varlamov got the start against the Capitals and looked pretty good. He allowed one goal that he probably would have liked to have back but kept the Islanders close throughout the third period. He stopped 26 of 28 shots but was given the night off on Sunday.
As they did last year with Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss, head coach Barry Trotz used his both of his goalies, starting Thomas Greiss Sunday night. He finished as the third star of the game stopping 35 of 36 shots. The lone goal to beat him came off the stick of Patrik Laine.
“The great thing about both of those guys is there’s not a selfish bone in their bodies,” said Trotz, who passed longtime Islander coach Al Arbour in games coached won Sunday. “I can guarantee you that Varly is just as happy for Greisser as Greisser would be for Varly. They have a great relationship and one that will continue to grow.”Barry Trotz
The defense for the Islanders looked pretty sharp in the first six periods. But their rookie, Noah Dobson, watched both of them from the press box. It never hurts to watch a game from above, but it definitely begs the question: why did Dobson make the roster if he won’t play?
Dobson played in the QMJHL last season and never appeared in the AHL for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The defenders that were active looked strong which makes it even tougher for their rookie to break through into the lineup.
Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech looked solid playing big minutes against both Alexander Ovechkin and Laine. Devon Toews will be a mainstay in their lineup along with Nick Leddy, meaning either Johnny Boychuk or Scott Mayfield will have to be scratched for Dobson to get in. Both those players have proven to be quality defensemen, so it doesn’t look like Dobson will debut until next weekend when the Islanders have their first back-to-back of the young season.
The road for the Islanders doesn’t get much easier as they will face Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night in the final game of a three-game homestand. The Oilers looked sharp in their first two games of the season; winning both of them and scoring nine goals. Following that, they will face the surging Carolina Hurricanes for their first road game before coming back home for a game against the Florida Panthers. So far, the Metropolitan Division has looked extremely strong making each game have that much more meaning early on.