Alas, the NHL season is once again upon us. That means it is time to watch our favorite team, the NY Islanders back in action. The Islanders started on Thursday, October 13th when they lost to the Florida Panthers, 3-1 in their home opener.
Following the loss to the Panthers, the Islanders welcomed the Anaheim Ducks to UBS Arena on Saturday night and got on their horse early. It was a victory that felt like a good ol' fashioned Islanders game. The Islanders beat Anaheim by a score of 7-1 at the hands of an offensive explosion due to a more aggressive style of play head coach Lane Lambert is trying to instill in his team. While there were a bunch of players who played well last week, here's a look at the top three.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Noah Dobson
In his first game back following his first 50-point season, Noah Dobson wasted little time getting back into the point column. In game one of the new campaign, the Islanders lost to the Panthers, 3-1. However, Dobson played himself a great game. Dobson picked up one goal, early in the third period to tie the game. Sadly, a win wasn't in the cards for the Islanders as the Panthers would quickly regain the league and not look back. Dobson also picked up six shots on goal and continued to be a force in the defensive zone.
""It was good to get a power play after they had a bunch. (Nelson) gave it back to me. (Anders Lee) doesn't get credit for any points on the goal, but he does a heck of a job with the screen, I think that's his specialty. He does a great job coming across and taking the eyes, and I just try to get one on net.""- Noah Dobson on his first goal
In the second, and final game of the week, Dobson continued his strong play. With around eight minutes left of the first period, Dobson found Matt Martin for a goal, picking up an assist on the play. This extended the Islanders' lead to 2-0. Dobson picked up his first assist in the new season fairly quickly. Dobson continues to impress on the defensive side of things as well. He wasted no time picking up points on the new campaign, and is en route to replicate another 50-point season.
⭐️⭐️ Scott Mayfield
In the 2021-2022 NHL season, Scott Mayfield played well. However, he wasn't, nor has ever been, a goal scorer. Instead he's been a defensive defenseman, although he has a sneaky ability to push the pace with the puck and collect points. Last season, Mayfield picked up 18 points on three goals and 15 assists. On Saturday, Mayfield showed he has the ability to maybe add a little more offense to his game this season.
Nobody expects Mayfield to score goals. However, out of nowhere about halfway through the first period, Mayfield picked up his first goal of the season off of assists from Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier, giving the Islanders the 1-0 lead. Mayfield wasn't quite done, however. He proceeded to net another goal with around seven minutes left in the second period, assisted by Mathew Barzal and Zach Parise. The multi-goal performance is the first of Mayfield's career. Mayfield ended the night with four shots on net and if this is a result of the new system Lambert has in place, we could see a new side of the 30-year-old defenseman. Spoiler alert: as of now, it's working.
⭐️ Ilya Sorokin
While there were quite a few players who stood out from the past two games, Ilya Sorokin just played on another level. In the first game of the season, Sorokin did his absolute best to keep the Islanders in the game. Unfortunately, the offense just wasn't there for him that night. Sorokin finished the game against Florida with two goals allowed, and 26 saves off of 28 shot attempts. This brings his save percentage to an impressive .928%. Although the Islanders lost, Sorokin giving up only two goals to the team who won the President's Cup last year is impressive.
The impressive play rolled over into Saturday's game, only the offense woke up over the weekend. Sorokin gave up one goal against Anaheim, but other than the one blip, he was lights out for the rest of the game. Sorokin picked up 22 saves on 23 shot attempts, giving him a save percentage of .957%. Sorokin has really come into his own on the Islanders and could be the full-time goalie moving forward. According to JFresh analytic cards, Sorokin leads the NHL in goals saved above expected after the weekend.