The New York Islanders didn’t deserve to win, and if not for goaltender Robin Lehner they wouldn’t have had a chance to win.
The last time these two teams met, the New York Islanders ran out of town with an undeserved win. The Islanders played their worst game of the season and still won 4-3.
The St Louis Blues, who had a three game winning streak as they entered the game would try to avenge that loss.
If the Islanders could play like they did against the Tampa Bay Lightning there wouldn’t be a problem. But could the Isles “get up” for a team that’s not even in a playoff spot?
Who better than Jordan Eberle to get the New York Islanders off the ground and running? OK, maybe St Louis native Scott Mayfield. The Isles winger had a slow start to the season, after coming back from injury though he’s been starting to put up points.
The goal was now Eberle’s fourth point in six games since his return. Before taking some necessary time off Eberle wasn’t anywhere near the player he was last season. It seems like he’s back now.
The Islanders played a solid period as they played with the lead for most of it. They kept the offense going and limited the chances the Blues happened to generate.
The talking point of the period was how Robin Lehner single handily kept the Blues out.
At the 10:07 mark of the second period, Anders Lee was assessed a two minute minor for putting his hand on the puck. Not the best penalty to take, but when you look at the play he didn’t close his hand on it so maybe not the best call either.
Regardless, the Islanders went on the penalty kill, where Robin Lehner stole the show. Through two minutes on the man-advantage the St Louis Blues got seven shots on net (seven!) and Robin Lehner stopped them all.
Lehner has been an absolute start this season for the Islanders. On that single penalty kill he preserved the Islanders lead all by himself.
For some reason the New York Islanders thought: “The last time we played these guys we let them control the play and we won. Lets do that again!”
The Isles just let them control the puck for some unknown reason. There was no forecheck and no pressure in the neutral zone which allowed the Blues to just walk the puck into the O-zone.
Of course, six minutes of that strategy produced exactly what you thought it would; a St Louis Blues goal to tie it at one.
Through the remainder of the period the Islanders would get a chance with a power play in the final three minutes, but in typical Isles fashion they couldn’t convert.
If not for a good first period and a now customary performance from Robin Lehner the Islanders wouldn’t have even earned a point on the night. But they held on and got to the extra period of three-on-three.
Mathew Barzal held on to the puck long enough to see Valtteri Filppula jump over the boards and alone in on Billington. With a flick of the wrist the puck was in the back of the net sealing the 2-1 win.
Just like last time against the Blue, the Islanders didn’t deserve to win. They were out played for the majority of the game, but thanks to Robin Lehner they held on to take a point and steal another.
Fans of the Game
Before every single New York Islanders game we ask fans on Twitter who they think will score the Islanders first goal. It’s not easy, but every time we seem to find some clairvoyant individuals.
With Jordan Eberle’s 200th career goal these two were able to see the future.
— Mike (@conigs77) January 16, 2019
Eberle on a rare breakaway
— Gord of Thunder (@GordThunder) January 15, 2019
Three Stars of the Game
1. Robin Lehner: 30 saves. 0.968SV%
Easily the New York Islanders best player on the ice. Those seven saves in a single penalty kill are what gave the Islanders a the point and gave them the chance at the other one.
2. Valtteri FIlppula: 1 goal
A game winner in overtime, and stealing points from the Blues again. Great play by the veteran to see the opportunity and sink the winner.
3. Mathew Barzal: 1 assist
The puck was stuck to his stick during OT when he saw Filppula getting off the bench. The pass came from the Isles own blue line and just over the Blues own blue line tape-to-tape. Beautiful. You could argue it earns him the second star.