HOW IT HAPPENED
Simon Holmstrom scored a short-handed goal with 1:33 left to play in regulation to break a tie and lift the Islanders to a 4-3 win against the Anaheim Ducks at UBS Arena on Wednesday night. Mathew Barzal tied the game at 7:46 on the power play for his 10th of the season. Kyle Palmieri and Casey Cizikas also scored, and Noah Dobson added two more assists for the Isles (14-7-7), who got 20 saves from Semyon Varlamov in the win. Sam Carrick, Adam Henrique, and Troy Terry scored for the Ducks (10-18-0), who have lost four straight and 12 of their past 13. John Gibson made 30 saves in the loss.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
You have to like the way the Islanders kept their cool after falling down 3-2 in the third period after leading 2-0. There was no panic in their game and when an opportunity came on the power-play, their playmakers made plays to tie the game. Dobson was able to reach up and keep a clearing attempt in the zone and fed it cross-ice to Barzal, who passed to Bo Horvat in the middle. Horvat quickly sent it right back to Barzal for the one-timer to tie the game.
“They had a little push, but I felt the whole game we felt pretty in control,” Dobson said. “I liked our composure in the third when they got one. There was no panic and just a good, solid 60 minutes and we found a way to win at the end.”
WHAT WENT WRONG
Before the game, the team announced that defenseman Scott Mayfield is considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury. In his place, the team recalled defenseman Grant Hutton from Bridgeport Mayfield was the latest Islander defenseman to miss time, joining Adam Pelech (LTIR - upper body) and Ryan Pulock (IR-lower-body) as regular defensemen out of the lineup.
However, Sebastian Aho returned to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 24 and had two SOG in 18:51 TOI. “I felt good,” Aho said. “I thought me and Mikey [Reilly] moved the puck well, and we had a lot of opportunities up the ice and overall a good game.”
STATS OF THE GAME
Per Eric Hornick in The Skinny, Simon Holmstrom is the 20th player in NHL history to score a go-ahead shorthanded goal in the final two minutes of regulation and is the first Islander to do so.
It’s the team’s first 3rd-period go-ahead shorty since Johnny Boychuk did so on October 21, 2016 (4:24 of 3rd) and broke Wayne McBean's club record for the latest 3rd-period go-ahead shorty (13:46 at Minnesota North Stars on November 19, 1991). The Isles have one overtime shorty in regular season play – Michael Peca on February 12, 2002, in Philadelphia
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
Former Islanders enforcer Ross Johnston, who was claimed off waivers by the Anaheim Ducks, received a warm welcome (like all former Islanders do, right) from the UBS Arena crowd. The team played a tribute video of Johnston’s greatest hits (literally) and even found a goal or two.
The Islanders finish their six-game homestand on Friday night against the Boston Bruins.
Face-off from UBS Arena is set for 7:30 PM EST.