5 Takeaways From Islanders’ 4-2 Win vs. Senators – 11/14/22

With puck drop being at 5:30 instead of the usual 7:00 or 7:30 PM start time, the New York Islanders started their road trip with a win. They played a sloppy game and allowed plenty of scoring chances but for the most part, controlled the game from start to finish to defeat the Ottawa Senators 4-2.

Related: 4 Takeaways From Islanders’ 4-3 Win vs. Blue Jackets

The win was the 11th of the season for the Islanders and builds off an already strong start. They have won back-to-back games, four of the last five, and nine of the last 11 games played to catapult into second place in the Metropolitan Division. The recent win was a continuation of what has allowed this team to be successful this season but also showed how they can overwhelm opponents on a nightly basis.

Pageau Welcomes Himself Back to Ottawa

Jean-Gabriel Pageau made a name for himself in Ottawa. He grew up in the city and was drafted by his hometown team, playing his first eight years in the NHL with the Senators. He was traded to the Islanders at the 2020 Trade Deadline and since being acquired, has been an integral part of the team’s success. His recent return to his hometown was a reminder of how he impacts the game and what he provides to the Islanders.

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In the third period, he scored a pivotal power play goal that gave the Islanders a two-goal lead. A shot from the point created a second chance shot and with Pageau in the slot, he collected the loose puck and quickly fired it past Senators’ goaltender Cam Talbot.

This season, Pageau has only scored two goals in 17 games and has underachieved offensively. However, he has been playing a pivotal role in the Islanders’ forward unit and is one of the reasons the team is off to a great start. The middle-six center has been a key player on the penalty kill, which is one of the team’s strengths and has proven he can create scoring chances for the other players on the ice. Against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he assisted on the overtime-winning goal with a strong cross-ice pass on the rush to Zach Parise to seal the 4-3 win. He continues to be an essential part of the forward depth and recently, the team has benefitted immensely from his presence.

Wahlstrom Big Blast

Oliver Wahlstrom is one of the best shooters on the team but unfortunately, hasn’t optimized his sharpshooting skill. With Josh Bailey scratched and unable to play his regular role on the power play, he found his opportunity to make a strong impact offensively. With the open ice, a quick pass found him and his shot went to the top shelf and gave the Islanders an early 1-0 lead.

Oliver Wahlstrom New York Islanders
Oliver Wahlstrom, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The goal was Wahlstrom’s fifth of the season but it notably snapped him out of a scoring slump as he scored his first goal in 14 games. However, the 22-year-old skater has proven early in his career that he can score in bunches. The recent goal makes a strong argument for head coach Lane Lambert to move him to the power play but also if he continues to find the back of the net, will allow him to receive more ice time on a nightly basis.

Dobson Continues to Impress from the Point

The biggest goal in the game was scored by one of the most impactful players on the Islanders, Noah Dobson. With the game tied in the second period, he stole the puck at the blue line and quickly shot it on goal. The shot not only kept the puck in the offensive zone, but caught Talbot by surprise as it found the back of the net. Along with scoring his fifth goal of the season, he also added an assist, bringing his point total to 12 on the season.

Noah Dobson New York Islanders
Noah Dobson, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Dobson had a great game from the point but he also stepped up defensively. Playing alongside Alexander Romanov, the young duo created turnovers in the defensive zone and limited the fast-paced Senators’ offense from finding quick shots on the net. Furthermore, the young pair helped turn defense into instant offense with their puck-handling and break-out passes that helped start up the offense and fuel the four-goal performance.

Islanders Penalties Continue to Hurt Them

The second period was a disaster for the Islanders and almost cost them the game. They committed five penalties, one of which allowed the Senators to score a goal and play almost half the period on the power play, preventing the Islanders from building momentum and establishing a rhythm.

Fortunately, they killed five of the six penalties in the game and prevented the Senators from taking the lead at any point. Yet, the undisciplined performance from the Islanders left a dark cloud over an otherwise strong performance. Specifically, they were called for a handful of high sticking penalties, including a double minor on Scott Mayfield that allowed the Senators to score a goal on a five-on-three power play. The accumulation of penalties inevitably will start to affect this team and could ultimately be the undoing of a promising season.

Varlamov’s Strong Start

The Islanders once again saw firsthand how important a strong goaltending duo is and the value of a backup that can start for a majority of the teams in the NHL. Semyon Varlamov started the game and saved 36 of the 38 shots he faced to seal the 4-2 win. He was tested in this game by a Senators team that has a high-powered offense, one that averages 3.50 goals per game. However, he blanked the shots on the net and halted the potent offense.

Semyon Varlamov New York Islanders
Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Islanders needed a strong performance from him as Ilya Sorokin, who started three games in six days, got a much-needed night off. Once again, Varlamov stepped up and put together a great game in the net. With two reliable starting goaltenders, the Islanders can win any game on their schedule and look poised to put together a remarkable season, especially if the two goaltenders stay healthy and remain well-rested throughout the year.

Other Takeaways from the Islanders’ Win

  • Brock Nelson scored the empty-net goal to put the game away. He now has a team-leading nine goals this season. While he started the season slowly, he is back to his goal-scoring self and on pace for another big season.
  • Mathew Barzal had two assists and now has 18 in the 17 games played this season. He has yet to score a goal, but his passing ability has allowed him to have a big season and help the offense thrive.
  • The Islanders scored twice in the third period. With the two goals, they have 28 goals in the third period this season which leads the NHL.

What’s Next for the Islanders

The Islanders’ four-game road trip continues as they face the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. The extra off day allows them to regroup and play the upcoming game well-rested and recharged. Moreover, it also allows them to prepare for the upcoming games on the road which along with the Predators, includes the Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Islanders have an 11-6 record and are off to one of the best starts in the Eastern Conference. However, they will look to continue to play well and avoid slipping in a season where they are slowly becoming a Stanley Cup contender.

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