The Islanders offense explodes in the second and third periods to help secure their first victory of a pivotal second half stretch run.
Five different Islanders scored goals in Brooklyn to overpower the Minnesota Wild. The Islanders took control with 3 second period goals and then sealed the victory with 2 quick goals in the third. While the offense led the way, Jean-Francois Berube notched 40 saves in his first career NHL victory.
After a first period goal from Charlie Coyle, Mikhail Grabovski answered early in the second period. They didn’t want to waste any time and less than two minutes later Anders Lee scored a redirect on a Travis Hamonic slapshot.
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With less than 2 minutes left in the period Pominville leveled the score and it looked like the Isles and Wild would be heading into the 3rd period all square. But just like that the Isles top goal scorer, Brock Nelson, took the lead back with a wrister from the slot.
The Islanders wasted no time in the third with an early powerplay goal from Frans Nielsen and a goal from Captain John Tavares minutes later. A Minnesota Wild powerplay goal midway through the period from Nino Niederreiter made anyone who bet the Islanders -1.5 nervous, but the Wild never seemed to really be a threat to come back and win.
A downside for Islanders fans was the play of Nino Niederreiter. He had a goal and an assist in Brooklyn and it makes me think what could have been if his time with the Islanders had gone differently.
The most intriguing story line of this game for most fans will be the play of third string goaltender JF Berube. While many will praise Jack Capuano’s decision to play Berube, the move it is still puzzling. Capuano and GM Garth Snow want Berube to get some NHL action in order to increase his trade value.
Despite making 40 saves, Berube let in a couple very soft goals. He let a first period Charlie Coyle shot squirt by him that had no business going in. Later in the second period he let a rebound go straight back to Jason Pominville who buried his second opportunity.
Berube let in a couple soft ones but the Islanders offense was right there every time a goal was needed.
It was a nice way to start off a second half stretch that will make or break this Islanders season.