Top 5 NY Islanders' games of calendar year 2022

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders
Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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As the New Year of 2023 approaches, NY Islanders fans have been able to enjoy a solid start to the 2022-23 season after a 2021-22 season that did not live up to its high expectations. There was plenty for fans to enjoy during the 2022 calendar year, however, with the Islanders playing much better hockey when compared to the tail end of 2021 after the season began with no shortage of injuries, COVID-19, and overall fatigue from starting the season on the road for 13 games. They rebounded when 2022 came around, going 26-23-4 to finish out the season, but it ultimately was not enough. There were still some enjoyable moments near the end of the season, along with even more in the currently optimistic and exciting season, so with that said, here are our top five Islanders' games of 2022.

Honorable Mention: Islanders vs Flames 11/7

This entry just barely missed the cut, but it was a 3-goal comeback victory for the Isles against the Calgary Flames, a type of win they began to get familiar with as games waned in the 2022-23 season. After going down 3-1 after the second, the Islanders grabbed two consecutive goals to tie the game, thanks to captain Anders Lee tapping in a rebound and Kyle Palmieri ripping a shot out high to beat Jacob Markstrom.

The game would go into overtime and the Flames ended up taking a penalty that led to a power play with about two minutes left in the extra session. Mathew Barzal faked a slap shot to get the defensemen to bite in front of him, and dropped it back to Noah Dobson who blasted the puck past Markstrom to complete the comeback for the Islanders, giving them their sixth win in seven games to improve to 8-5-0 on the 2022-23 season.

5. Islanders vs Maple leafs 11/21

Every game the Islanders play against the Toronto Maple Leafs is made an even bigger deal for most Isles fans that want to stick it to former captain John Tavares, and it felt just a little sweeter for those when the Islanders practically stole a game in NHL's biggest market.

Dobson opened the scoring for the Isles late in the first period with a missile from the point, giving them a 1-0 lead until Tavares sunk one past Ilya Sorokin in the opening seconds of a Leafs' power play to tie the game. Sorokin made many fantastic saves this game, and without his athleticism and focus the Islanders may not have been able to come back after being down 2-1 for most of the game, the tiebreaking goal courtesy of Auston Matthews.

Erik Källgren manned the other cage in this one for Toronto, and the second goal he allowed was a blunder that certainly could not have come at a worse time. Källgren played the puck behind the net and accidentally gave it away to Josh Bailey, and could not get back into position before Bailey beat him to tie the game at 2:58 of the third.

The game bled into overtime, and Anthony Beauvillier was the hero with his first goal in 11 games, a snipe to the top right corner of the net giving the Islanders two points when it looked like they would come away with zero.

4. Islanders vs Stars 3/19

Near the end of the 2021-22 season, it seemed like Islanders forwards were all scoring hat-tricks of their own. J.G. Pageau had one against the New Jersey Devils, Anders Lee scored his first career 3-goal game against Columbus as time expired, and Brock Nelson cashed in a third-period hat-trick against the Dallas Stars in a 4-2 win at UBS Arena.

His first goal needed a little bit of puck luck, with his shot going off of Jake Oettinger's shoulder and falling softly past him and over the line to take the lead on the power play. It only took Nelson 1:38 to tally his second of the game in practically the exact same spot, courtesy of a great centering pass from Beauvillier behind the net.

The Stars came within one off of a Jacob Peterson goal beating a sprawled Semyon Varlamov with 8:21 to go, but the Isles held on and Brock delivered the final blow to Dallas after intercepting Joe Pavelski's pass through the middle and sliding the puck down all the way into the empty net. The crowd at UBS all rose to their seats to celebrate Nelson, who went on to score a career-high 37 goals last season.

3. Islanders vs Flyers 1/18

This matchup between the Isles and the division-rival Philadelphia Flyers was one of the first to feature the blue and orange on ESPN in its first year back broadcasting NHL games, and they certainly picked out a good one.

The first notable moment of the game to get Islanders' fans excited: Robin Salo blasting his first goal in the NHL in the top corner past Carter Hart. The Flyers would tie things up after the puck took a weird bounce off the boards right in front of Varlamov, creating an easy tap-in for James van Riemsdyk. After Bailey broke the tie by making a great play corralling a high-centering pass by Beauvillier, Varlamov began to come up huge with some great saves, specifically keeping the puck from creeping across the goal line with his blocker. Both teams would trade goals again from Claude Giroux and Casey Cizikas to send the game into overtime.

Neither team could solve the superb goaltending in overtime, which would also translate to the shootout. It took nine rounds for the first goal, a bar-down beauty at the hands of Oliver Wahlstrom to win the game for New York. In the words of ESPN play-by-play announcer John Buccigross, "Winner, Winner, Dunkin Donuts Dinner."

2. Islanders vs Rangers 11/8

Any game where the Islanders can prevail over the Rangers is a huge win, but the most exciting one of this calendar year came on November 8th in another comeback win for the Long Island-based team.

After immense pressure from the Rangers to start the first period, the Isles didn't break and Palmieri scored on their second shot of the game on the power play to beat Igor Shesterkin and open the scoring. About five minutes later, Varlamov's shutout streak at MSG which lasted over four games ended with a goal from Filip Chytil to tie the game. Chris Kreider would take the lead for the Rangers and Vincent Trocheck would add to it, both scoring power-play goals making the score 3-1 near the end of the second frame. But, as we've seen countless times this season, the Isles showed no sweat and had an answer in the third.

Adam Pelech asserted that the game was not over by scoring 14 seconds into the final period, beating Shesterkin high blocker side as he was leaning in the other direction. Varlamov had to make a clutch save on a Jimmy Vesey breakaway to keep the momentum in their favor, just barely holding it before the goal line. Nelson netted the tying goal off of a one-timer on the man advantage, and shortly after Lee took the winds out of the Rangers' sails by stuffing a rebound from an Alexander Romanov shot past Shesterkin to give the Islanders the lead that they would not let go of. The Islanders went 4-2 against their cross-town rivals in 2022 and won't face them again until either next season or, hopefully, in the playoffs.

1. Islanders vs Avalanche 10/29

The Islanders have made plenty of remarkable rallies from behind this season, but none was as improbable as when they stormed back to take down the reigning Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.

After the Isles went down 3-0 before the halfway mark, it looked like it was going to be a beat down from the visitors. All three goals were tough for Varlamov to stop, and the Avalanche were dominating the game up until that point. Dobson once again would blast a shot with purpose to give the Islanders life before the second period ended, with the Isles at that point only facing a two-goal deficit.

The third period started off well with Zach Parise keeping the momentum in the Isles' favor after jamming at a loose puck to eventually squeak it past Alexandar Georgiev. Barzal was especially persistent while the Islanders were buzzing, eventually finding Scott Mayfield of all people in front of the net to redirect his pass right through the former Rangers' goaltender to all the sudden tie the score. And just 17 seconds later, Beauvillier would strike again to rip the lead away from the Avalanche on a 2-on-1, which completely ignited the UBS crowd. Nelson eventually scored an empty net goal off of a rare Cale Makar giveaway with his skates, making it five unanswered goals in the Islanders most impressive comeback victory, ending in a 5-4 win for the blue and orange.

And with that, all Isles fans can only hope to see exciting games such as this in 2023 on an even grander stage in the Stanley Cup playoffs once again. They currently sit in the second wild-card spot, but are only four points behind the second-place Devils and have all the potential to make this upcoming year one to remember.