HOW IT HAPPENED
Rookie winger Simon Holmstrom scored the game-winner for the NY Islanders as they defeated the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 2-1 at UBS Arena. The game was a defense-oriented affair, with each team taking turns having dominant periods over the other. New York started the game off stronger than Winnipeg, finishing their checks and giving the Jets less room to skate. Sebastian Aho opened the scoring late in the first by finishing a Brock Nelson rebound on a 2-on-1, making it 1-0. In the second period, the Isles were heavily outshot by Winnipeg 11-4 and Nikolaj Ehlers took advantage on the power play with a snipe to tie the score. The third period boasted low shot totals for both sides, but Holmstrom was able to make the most of his opportunity in front of Connor Hellebuyck and beat him short side off the feed from Bo Horvat.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
The kids are alright. Holmstrom specifically showed great resilience during this game, taking a Blake Wheeler high stick straight to the side of his head, but did not take a shift off. The goal he scored was also a testament to this after taking a hard hit in the corner from Dylan DeMelo, he got up and then scored moments later. Arnaud Durandeau also continues to impress after being called up from Bridgeport, logging 14:43 of ice time and having three shots on goal. He has shown that he can make adjustments in all three zones and finds spots for the puck to come to him, and is certainly not afraid to shoot when he gets the opportunity.
"It’s hockey. You gotta take a hit to make a play, right?"- Holmstrom on getting hit before scoring
Solid goaltending goes hand-in-hand with a game that relies more on strong defensive play, and Ilya Sorokin provided that last line of defense for the blue and orange. He finished with 25 saves on 26 shots in the win, which is now his 5th win in his last seven games and the third of which that he allowed one goal or less. Connor Hellebuyck also played well for the Jets, albeit only facing 22 shots and making 20 saves.
WHAT WENT WRONG
The Islanders' second-period play was not nearly as strong as the other two periods. They could not muster much on offense at all and were trapped in their own zone for a large portion of the frame. While the players that aren't regulars on the roster did impress in some ways today, the flaw was taking undisciplined penalties. Durandeau took a tripping penalty in the second period that killed momentum more for the Isles, and fourth-line center Otto Koivula took one as well right after they took the lead in the third. Ross Johnston also had two penalties on the day, with the first one being matching roughing penalties along with Pierre-Luc Dubois. They killed off all but one of the penalties but still put the team in a brutal situation at key moments.
STATS OF THE GAME
- According to NHL.com: The Islanders have won six straight games against the Jets, dating to March 28, 2019.
- Two of Holmstrom's four career goals stand as game-winning goals.
- Matt Martin has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past six games. He has points in both games that he started on the first line with Anders Lee and Horvat.
- Nelson currently has a nine-game point streak at home (11 points; six goals, five assists).
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
Islanders color commentator Butch Goring went down to the ice in warmups to jokingly remind Martin that he has made his way all the way up the lineup for most likely the first time in his career.
The Islanders will stay home to host the LA Kings in the second leg of their Tri-State road trip on Friday night. Puck drop is set for 7:30 PM.