After fighting back from a two goal deficit, the Islanders came away with a point after Dion Phaneuf scored in overtime to win it for the Leafs.
Both teams came out very physical in the first period, with hits totalling 16-13 in favour of the Maple Leafs. For comparison, hits were 21-16 at the end of the Boston game and that was a physical one.
Kyle Okposo made a slick move and sent the puck in front to Josh Bailey to get the Isles on the board quickly on their first shot of the game. The second line was moving again, every shift they played they had a scoring chance. Josh Bailey would ring another shot off the post shortly after he scored.
The period was littered with hits and fast, back and forth action.
Nazem Kadri came down the left side, did a beauty toe-drag into the slot and wired the puck past a screened Evgeni Nabokov for his first of three on the night.
Michael Grabner would get a gift in the first when he was awarded a penalty shot. The only problem for Grabner was, he seemed to forget where the net was, missing it completely.
John Tavares and his first line unit had their chances in the first but couldn’t stick anything past James Reimer. The period would end at a one all tie. Face-offs for the Islanders sat at 44% in the first, but it picked up in the last seven minutes of the frame.
The second started much like the first, physical, back and forth hockey. Tavares displayed great hand-eye coordination when he batted the puck in off Reimer, but it was a high-stick so the score remained tied.
Lubomir Visnovsky, like Bailey, would get his first of the season when he sent a wrister top shelf on Reimer while Cody Franson played peekaboo with the Leafs netminder, forgetting that they’re teammates.
With the score 2-1, Colton Orr took a pass from the behind the net and one-timed it on Nabokov, a greta save by the Isles goalie keeps it 2-1.
I should point out that Martinek’s replacement, Finley, had an awful game. I realize Martinek is no gem, but Finley’s play was stomach-wrenching. This is also the point where the wheels started getting loose and prepared themselves for the fall off the bus.
It seems inevitable that the Isles will have a collapse at some point in the game and, lately, it’s the second period that brings the misfortunes.
Toronto would go from down 2-1 to up 4-2 by the periods end, getting two more goals by Nazem Kadri and one tally from James van Reimsdyk. The Islanders completely abandoned hitting shortly into the 2nd period, and it showed. Hits in the second period were 11-3 in favor of the Maple Leafs. The face-offs did come up, though, for New York in that period. 53% face-offs is where they stand at this point.
Notice how I haven’t talked about powerplays? That’s because there wasn’t any. Notta. Zilch. Not one single infraction.
The third started out with a great save by Nabokov on Clarke MacArthur and then Lubomir Visnovsky went shelf on Reimer again, apparently. The goal would be reviewed and, since it never actually crossed the line, called back. Still 4-2 Leafs.
It wouldn’t be long before Andrew MacDonald would join the first-goal-of-the-year club when he notched a tally to make it 4-3 on a beauty pass from Kyle Okposo. Okposo now has 2 assists in the game, another solid outing for the winger.
Nabokov would rob MacArthur again before Kyle Okposo would get his first goal in a very long time to tie the game on a nice snipe. The Leafs would turn up the heat on the Islanders in the last three minutes, but the game would remain tied and head to overtime.
Guaranteed one point, but hungry for two, the Isles and Leafs came out swinging in overtime for 71 seconds. That’s how long it took for Dion Phaneuf to give the Islanders another loss at home. It was a great comeback attempt and we’ll gladly take the point.
Shots were 28-27 in favor of Toronto.
Blocked shots were 16-14 in favor of Toronto.
Hits were 42-23 in favor of Toronto.
Face-offs were 56% - 44% in favor of New York.
Takeaways were 11-5 in favor of New York.
Here are my Islanders Three Stars:
1. Kyle Okposo (1g 2a +1 2 hits)
2. Andrew MacDonald (1g 1a, 1 blocked shot)
3. Matt Martin (9 hits)
And here's couple quick notes:
- Isles 2nd line was the best Islander line again.
- Tavares had another good effort but couldn't get anything to go.
- Boyes was disappointing again.
- Islanders were severely out-hit. 42 hits is disgustingly high.
- Matt Martin was throwing bodies around all night.
The Islanders now get ready for an afternoon battle with the Ottawa Senators on Sunday. A few days off to figure things out is definitely not a bad things. Thanks for reading and follow me on twitter @chiassontb