The New York Islanders are back to winning ways with a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks thanks to goals from the most unlikely source and from the most unlikely ways.
After back-to-back regulation losses to the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning, the New York Islanders desperately wanted to get back to winning ways. Unluckily for them the red hot Vancouver Canucks were in town.
Coming into tonight’s game the Canucks were at the top of the Pacific division with a 10-7-2 record. Over their last five, the Canucks are 5-3-2. The Isles weren’t going to find it easy against the Canucks.
They were going to have to take their chances and maybe get a few lucky bounces. They got both.
It didn’t start well. Within two minutes the Vancouver Canucks got on the board. The Islanders got caught puck watching as the Canucks bandied the puck around.
Then it was Tom Kuhnhackl to respond. Remember that goal Alex Ovechkin scored? The one where he’s on his back and still manages to score? Ever think that Tom Kuhnhackl would do the same?
Against the Canucks Kuhnhackl did just that. After falling to the ice Kuhnhackl, on his back, whips the puck around towards the net and gets it by Markstrom for an automatic goal of the season candidate.
The Islanders would add two more goals in the first 20 minutes through Josh Bailey (sixth of the season) and Jordan Eberle (fifth of the season).
The response is exactly what you want to see from the Islanders. Going down early and fighting back to lead 3-1 after 20.
While the first period saw four goals scored, the second was a much calmer affair. Jake Virtanen scored his eighth goal of the season on the power play to bring the Canucks right back into the game.
While the Islanders power play looked pedestrian as usual (they would score a power play goal in the game), the penalty kill continued to roll. That Virtanen goal aside, the Isles stopped another four short-handed situations. That’s an 80% efficiency.
Tom Kuhnhackl scored his second of the game (first time in his career). It could be argued that the puck was kicked in. The referees, after consulting with Toronto, decided the call on the ice would stand and the Isles took a 4-2 lead.
Cal Clutterbuck would score his first of the season, and first since January 13th 2018 to stretch the Islanders lead to three goals. More importantly, Clutterbuck’s goal was on the power play!
The 5-2 win puts the New York Islanders back in a playoff spot in the Metropolitan division as we edge closer to Thanksgiving. The holiday is an important marker in the NHL season.
Since 2011, teams in a playoff spot by Thanksgiving make the playoffs 75 percent of the time.
1. Tom Kuhnhackl: 2 Goals
Tom Kuhnhackl scored perhaps the two luckiest goals he’ll ever score in his career. But like the saying goes. You have to create your own luck.
2. Brock Nelson: 2 Assists
Brovember continues! Brock Nelson gets two points on the night. That brings him to six points in six games. Remember, he has one point in November last season.
3. Jordan Eberle: 1 Goal, 1 Assist
Jordan Eberle is back amongst the points. Eberle was working on a three game pointless streak.