4 Takeaways From Islanders’ 5-2 Win vs Flyers – 11/26/22

The New York Islanders swept the back-to-back over the weekend and with both wins continue to prove why they are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. After defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets on the road 3-2, they traveled back to UBS Arena to face a struggling Philadelphia Flyers team and beat them 5-2.

Related: 3 Young Islanders Thriving Under Lane Lambert

Both Metropolitan Division opponents are near the bottom of the division and are two teams the Islanders needed to take advantage of, which they managed to do so. They looked sloppy and lethargic to start the game against the Flyers but with a three-goal third period, they pulled away with a decisive victory.

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The Islanders now have a four-game winning streak and have won seven of their last 10 games. Moreover, with a 15-8 record, which is second-best in the Metropolitan Division, the Islanders have looked like a complete team and the recent win against the Flyers was a reminder of how this team can control multiple facets of a game.

Parise’s Two Power Play Goals

The two goals scored by Zach Parise showed why he is one of the best instinctive goal-scorers on the Islanders. His first goal was scored in the final seconds of the power play with a quick chance right in front of the net with Parise patiently waiting for Flyers goaltender Felix Sandstrom to get out of position, allowing for an open backhand shot. The second goal, meanwhile, was on a shot taken from a tough angle but one where he elevated the puck to find the back of the net to cap off the three-goal third period for the Islanders.

Zach Parise New York Islanders
Zach Parise, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Parise now has seven goals on the season, which are third-most on the Islanders trailing only Brock Nelson and Anders Lee. Throughout the season, it’s been his ability to find open shots or put himself into position to find a scoring chance that has made him one of the team’s best goal scorers. The experience and scoring instincts have paid off for Parise and the Islanders and will continue to catapult the offense this season.

Defensemen Add Spark to the Offense

The Islanders’ first goal came off a shot from the point from Adam Pelech. The goal was possible because of chaos in front of the net that left the Flyers out of position but Pelech found the puck with an open shot and gave the Islanders an early 1-0 lead.

Pelech scored the only goal from the defensive unit but Ryan Pulock had the most impactful night in the offensive zone from the unit. The two goals that the Islanders scored 22 seconds apart involved Pulock collecting the puck and sending a pass to open skaters near the net for quick shots. Furthermore, he had four assists in the game and provided multiple scoring chances with his awareness from the point, allowing him to step up and play the puck correctly.

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This season, a recurring theme for the Islanders has been the involvement of the defensemen in all facets of the game, notably with a stronger contribution offensively. It’s something head coach Lane Lambert has emphasized and has helped make the Islanders a complete team with one of the best offenses in the league.

Nelson Scores His 11th Goal This Season

After scoring the game-winning goal against the Blue Jackets, Nelson found the back of the net once again in the third period to give the Islanders the lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. He found an open shot and fired the puck past Sandstrom’s glove for his 11th goal of the season, leading the team in the category.

Brock Nelson New York Islanders
Brock Nelson, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Entering the season, there were questions about whether Nelson could replicate his scoring success from last year, when he scored a team-leading, career-high 37 goals. The slow start, where he failed to find the back of the net in the first seven games of the season, furthered the doubt of him having another big season. However, Nelson has reestablished himself as the Islanders’ top goal-scorer, and with 11 goals in 23 games, he’s poised to put together another remarkable season.

Varlamov Closes Out the Game

It wasn’t the best game for goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who saved only 26 of the 28 shots he faced. However, when the Islanders needed him to step up and help secure the victory, he was able to do so. After allowing the second goal, Varlamov saved the final 15 shots he faced to close out the 5-2 win.

In the third period in particular, the Flyers tried to come back numerous times and applied pressure on Varlamov. However, they couldn’t get the puck past the veteran goaltender as he saved all nine third-period shots he faced to cap off a strong performance.

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

The Islanders needed this start from Varlamov with Ilya Sorokin, who started the previous three games, getting the night off. Varlamov has been the backup this season, starting only eight games with his most recent start being the 5-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Nov 19. but he’s proven that he still plays at a high level. Furthermore, his strong play in the net has given the Islanders a great goaltending duo that has helped carry them to one of the best records in the NHL.

Other Takeaways From the Islanders’ Win

  • Anthony Beauvillier scored a goal and added an assist in the game. It was a great night for the young skater looking to have a big bounce-back year, and with five goals and five assists, he’s proving to be a reliable contributor to the offense.
  • The penalty kill stepped up and successfully killed off both Flyers’ power play opportunities, while the Islanders’ power play was excellent as well, scoring on two of the three opportunities. The special teams haven’t been a strength for the team but helped fuel the recent victory, and the hope is that the power play, in particular, can turn a corner on the season.
  • The final few minutes of the game were defined by the fights, which speak more to the Flyers entering this game on a skid and the frustration boiling over in a three-goal game. They accumulated 27 penalty minutes by the end of the game, with 16 coming from Nicolas Deslauriers who also took a game misconduct.

What’s Next for the Islanders

The Islanders will face the Flyers once again but in Philadelphia as part of a home-and-home series against their Metropolitan Division opponent. While they easily defeated them at home, the Flyers haven’t won since Nov. 8 and are desperate to snap out of their slump and end the month on a high note.

The Islanders have gotten off to a great start to the season and look like one of the best teams in the league. However, to remain one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, they have to take advantage of their divisional opponents, especially when they are playing poorly, as the Flyers have recently.