Well, this will certainly be a decidedly more positive second half to this double-length takeaways piece. The Islanders’ 2-0 Sunday victory just ended, and I’ve got a few takeaways from this one too.
4. 2/28: Oliver Wahlstrom and the Islanders Power-Play
The New York Islanders power-play finished 9-for-22 in the month of February, and 2-for-5 vs. the Penguins on Sunday evening at Nassau Coliseum, according to the MSG+ broadcast. They exit February with probably the best PP% in the NHL in February. Considering how poor the Islanders power-play has been since the departure of John Tavares, that’s a big deal.
By the way, Oliver Wahlstrom has played a pretty pivotal role in the success of that Islanders power-play in these last couple of games. He had a goal and two assists on the power-play on Saturday and Sunday.
The first assist came on Saturday, off a hard pass sent toward Tristan Jarry’s crease which was redirected into the net by Brock Nelson.
But, I’d say Ollie’s plays during Sunday’s goals were far more impressive for two different reasons.
Starting with the goal. I don’t wanna sound cliche, but how about that Wahlstrom release? I mean, scouts have talked about Wahlstrom’s pro-level shot for years now, and it feels like that’s all anyone wants to talk about with this kid, but man that shot is impressive. Not only a laser beam of a one-timer from Ovechkin’s office, but an accurate one placed perfectly in the top corner. Nice.
Then, I think probably one of the more impressive things I’ve seen from Wahlstrom so far was his assist on Sunday. If you have a nice shot, like Wahlstrom does, then it can be easy to fall in love with just letting it rip every time someone sets you up. But, Wahlly didn’t let himself fall into that mindset, and it’s a good thing.
The Penguins, now obviously aware of the 20-year-old Wahlstrom’s wicked shot, shaded towards him and looked to take away his shooting lane on the play. When the puck came Wahlstrom’s way Cody Ceci was already charging toward him. So, instead of ripping a shot into Ceci’s shin pads, or off-target, Wahlstrom pumped, waited, and found a cross-seam passing lane to Josh Bailey. Bailey fed Pageau in the high slot, and the ensuing shot beat Casey DeSmith through the five-hole.
A really nice bit of patience and awareness on display from Wahlstrom here. He’s becoming more and more versatile a tool for this Islanders team as the days go by, and it’s becoming hard not to love what he brings to the lineup. Color me impressed by another good outing from the youngster.