The Upshot: NY Islanders close out the Maple Leafs in Toronto 3-2

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

Final. 3. 106. Isles leafs. 2. 116


Mathew Barzal and the NY Islanders came out of the All-Star break hungry to get back to their winning ways, securing a 3-2 win in a game that came down to the last moments against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Barzal, after notching one goal and five assists at the All-Star Game in "The 6," picked up right where he left off, scoring off a rebound to take a 1-0 lead in the first period. In the second period, Mitch Marner scored a few seconds into a four-on-four to tie it, but the man who was in the penalty box answered right back when the penalty time expired. That man was Kyle Maclean who scored a beautiful breakaway goal, his first in the NHL to take the lead again. John Tavares tipped one by Ilya Sorokin to tie it at two with less than five minutes to go in the third, and it looked like the game would go to overtime, something that both of these teams are very accustomed to this season. Pierre Engvall did not allow that, potting the game-winner against his former team with 2:02 to go and help the Islanders sweep Toronto in the season series.


The blue and orange played a full, 60-minute game and truly looked bought into the new system that head coach Patrick Roy is establishing. Everybody was finishing their checks, playing with speed, protecting the puck well, and not hesitating to shoot more often when they had shooting lanes. They also looked like they were playing for each other more, specifically by blocking hard shots and standing up for one another, specifically when Bo Horvat dropped the mitts with Noah Gregor after he took a run at Barzal. The Isles enjoyed getting under the skin of their former teammate Tavares as well, with tensions being released from him in the scrum after the final buzzer sounded. The extra time off benefitted Sorokin, who was as sharp as can be stopping 35 of 37 shots.


Sorokin may have stood on his head when faced with pressure near the crease, but the Maple Leafs had many high-danger scoring chances throughout this game. Auston Matthews is the leading goal scorer in the league and he was given too much room in tight to shoot, luckily for New York, he was not able to finish. The Isles had a complete defensive breakdown on the Marner goal, with three Islanders heading to half-wall while it was a four-on-four and stranding Sorokin. Otherwise, a strong game overall for the road team.


  • Mike Reilly finished with four shots on goal and six shot attempts, all of which came in the first period.
  • Barzal extends his point streak against the Maple Leafs to five straight games with his first period tally. Until Maclean scored in the second period, the last six goals the Isles scored against the Leafs included Barzal somehow (Primary assist on Horvat's overtime winner in the first matchup, four points in a 4-3 overtime win, and the icebreaker last night).
  • Sorokin extends his win streak against the Leafs to four straight games, going back to the 2022-23 season. He has not allowed more than three goals against in any of those games.


Roy had an interesting analogy to describe Horvat sticking up for Barzal being lined up by Gregor.


The Isles will travel back home to take on another disliked opponent these days in the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drop is at 8:00 PM on ESPN.