Last November, the New York Islanders had a historic month on the back of a franchise record 17-game point streak.
We don’t have any hockey to watch at this point (unless you actiavely watch European hockey like I do). With the NHL season ending in September, we’re deep into the offseason right now. We aren’t likely to see the New York Islanders hit the ice till maybe January? Maybe in February? Who knows.
With the calendar turning to November I wanted to reminisce on what took place last November for the Islanders. Cause it was kind of incredible month for the team.
Through 13 games in November of 2019, the Islanders went 9-2-2 picking up 20 points from a possible 26. With a 17-5-2 record through the first two months of the season, the Islanders 36 points were good for second in the Metropolitan Division and for the fifth-best record in the NHL.
Carrying over a seven-game winning streak from October, the Islanders added three wins before an overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 7. That ten-game winning streak was far from the longest in team history. That record was set back in 1981-82 when the team won 15 in a row.
But, from October 12 through to November 23, the Isles picked up a point in 17 straight games. Now that was a record. It was also the longest point streak in the NHL since the Boston Bruins 18-game point streak in 2017-18.
During that 17-game point streak the Islanders beat the following teams in the month of November:
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Buffalo Sabres
- Ottawa Senators
- Pittsburgh Penguins (twice)
- Florida Panthers
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Philadelphia Flyers
That list includes a number of good teams. The Toronto Maple Leafs were presumed Cup favorites in the summer, the Tampa Bay Lightning would actually win the Cup, and Pittsburgh won two Cups over the last four years. The Islanders beat them all.
With the 17-game point streak it was clear what the Islanders had done in the previous season was no fluke. The Islanders were the real deal.
Two players put up a point-per-game through the month of November, Mathew Barzal had five goals and eight helpers for 13 in 13. And with four goals and nine helpers, Derick Brassard was the second player to put up a point-per-game.
Brassard put up 41% of his production from the 2019-20 season in the month of November. With Jordan Eberle missing in action, Brassard was moved up to RW on the second line from his role as the team’s third-line center. A move that clearly worked well. Unfortunately, that form didn’t carry over when Brassard returned to the third line.
Brock Nelson cemented his status as a key player for the Islanders in clutch situations. In back-to-back games, Nelson scored game-winning overtime goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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Between the pipes, Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss were excellent as they alternated starts for the Islanders. Varly held a 3-1-2 record in six starts averaging a 0.919SV% and 2.47GAA while Greiss held a 6-1-0 record in seven starts with an incredible 0.932SV% and 2.04GAA.
The duo made us all forget the offseason drama with Robin Lehner. Both Varlamov and Greiss were excellent as they helped power the Islanders to the top of the standings.
November 2019 was one heck of a month. Many will say the appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals is the reason the Islanders will be taken seriously in 2020-21, but to me, the 17-game point streak from last November was what legitimized the Islanders.