It was a 20-minute hockey game as the two teams headed into the third period tied 1-1, but three goals by Brock Nelson propelled the New York Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars at UBS Arena.
Peterson Responds in a Big Way
Jacob Peterson had been scratched for a few games over the last week or so. Rick Bowness said that he was struggling to keep up with the pace in his first season and needed some time to rest and observe from the press box.
“I thought he got a little tired last week when we took him out,” Bowness said. “He’s not used to the grind of an NHL season and it became obvious. He’s had some time off now. Just need him to get the pace back up, where it was earlier. It’s understandable, your first year in the league. You’re used to playing 50 games and lots of practices, and it’s the exact opposite over here.”
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The young Swedish forward responded in a big way on Saturday. Reunited with Tyler Seguin on a line with Denis Gurianov, Peterson played a huge part in both Dallas goals on the afternoon. First, he made a slick move and a great pass to Gurianov on a 2 on 1 to tie the game at one. Then, with his team down 3-1 in the third, Peterson found a loose puck in front and shot it past Varlamov to bring his team within a goal.
“He is a smart player and he is slippery out there,” Michael Raffl said. “On that assist he had, he just rolled off a D man, it is a very undercover smart play by him. He made some very smart plays and scored a goal too, he played unreal tonight.”
The 22-year-old finished the day one goal, one assist, and an eventful 12:54 of ice time. While it is just a single game, it is a great sign for Dallas as his surprising success throughout the season has been huge for the Stars offense.
Turnovers & Penalties Prove Costly for Dallas
It is pretty easy to find the main factors in the loss on Saturday: turnovers and penalties. First, Radek Faksa took an interference penalty early in the third period that resulted in the first Brock Nelson goal. Then, a turnover in the defensive zone was quickly turned around and once again Nelson beat Jake Oettinger to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead that they would not relinquish. To finish things off, Joe Pavelski’s pass was easily intercepted and deposited into the empty net by Nelson for the hat trick in the final minute of the game.
These mistakes have cost Dallas all season long. Whether they are playing well or not, it seems that they still find a way to make the fatal mistakes at the worst time. Oettinger was able to bail them out once, actually leading to the Stars opening goal on the other end. However, you simply cannot force your goaltender to do that on a consistent basis and expect to have success.
A High-Event Game for Thomas Harley
Harley was seemingly the most noticeable player on the ice for Dallas on Long Island. The youngster was all around the puck early and had multiple chances to net his first career NHL goal. However, he also made one of the aforementioned costly mistakes as his pass missed two teammates in the defensive zone resulting in the third Islanders goal.
“He is learning the intensity of going into the last 20 games of a regular season,” Bowness said. “But he is moving well and he did a lot of good things.”
On that same play, Harley also was unable to make a play on the cross-crease pass that found Nelson wide open on the backdoor for the goal. These are the types of games you expect to see from a 20-year-old defenseman in his first NHL season and sometimes, you just have to accept the mistakes along with the positives.
He Said It
“You don’t get points for being the better team,” Raffl said. “The results are all that matters and we are aware of the position we are in in the standings and we know we’ve got to find a way to win games. That’s how she goes sometimes.”
Sam’s Three Stars
- Third Star: Jacob Peterson, DAL (1 goal, 1 assist, 12:45 TOI)
- Second Star: Semyon Varlamov, NYI (Win, 32 saves on 34 shots)
- First Star: Brock Nelson, NYI (3 goals)