It was a night of firsts in Brooklyn. Three different players finally scored in an Islanders’ 4-2 win over the Canucks at Barclays Center. Jason Chimera and Andrew Ladd highlighted the much needed victory with their first goals of the season to help the Isles snap a three-game losing streak.
“It’s big, for me & Jason, just getting that good feeling when you put pucks in the net. Sometimes all it takes is one & you go from there,” Ladd told reporters afterwards.
They had been waiting for something positive to happen with both free agent forwards who signed with the club during the summer. Maybe it’ll give them a confidence boost as the team hits Tampa and Florida for a two-game road swing beginning Thursday and concluding Saturday.
“We battled and were resilient and I thought we did some good things. Everyone contributed,” coach Jack Capuano said after his team improved to 5-6-2.
On a night where they hosted special guest Olympic gymnastic champion Aly Raisman, who dropped the puck and answered questions on Twitter during the second intermission, the Islanders stuck with it to earn a big two points. They got contributions throughout the lineup which is what needs to happen for them to be successful.
The game featured four different scorers including three Islanders who tallied their first goals of the season. Aside from Chimera, who tied the game at one on a feed from Anders Lee, Nikolay Kulemin also picked up his first. Cal Clutterbuck notched his second for the game-winner with 10:49 left in the third period. Ladd followed with number one to give them insurance for a two-goal victory.
It didn’t start out well. Canucks star forward Daniel Sedin picked the pocket of Ryan Strome and broke in and beat Jaroslav Halak unassisted at 4:22 of the first. The Isles responded thanks to the third line of Chimera, Lee and Brock Nelson, who’s continued to play well so far. The centerman picked up his seventh assist on a play in front of the Vancouver net where they left Chimera wide open for a tap in from Lee to even the score 5:20 later.
In the second stanza, Kulemin was able to bury home a rebound from John Tavares and Thomas Hickey to put the Isles in front at 7:38. On the play, Hickey threw a puck in front which Tavares got a piece of sending it to an uncovered Kulemin for an easy finish past Vancouver starter Ryan Miller.
But a Tavares minor penalty for tripping led directly to a Canucks’ power play tally coming from Markus Granlund with 3:30 remaining in the period. Bo Horvat set it up with Ben Hutton adding a secondary helper.
With the game still knotted nearly halfway through the third, Clutterbuck was able to get free in front and backhand home a Johnny Boychuk rebound past Miller for the game decider at 9:11. Alan Quine added an assist.
Less than two minutes later, Ladd finally got one to go when his shot deflected off a Canuck in front for his first goal in the Isles’ 13th game. Bridgeport call up Adam Pelech worked the puck to Nick Leddy, who found Ladd open in the high slot. He let it go and finally caught a much needed break.
Unlike the past couple of games, there would be no Vancouver comeback. The league’s lowest scoring offense go to two against Jaroslav Halak, who was strong finishing with 30 saves in his third straight start. He stopped 24 of 26 shots in the first two periods. The final one was a lighter workload with him required to only make six saves.
“Last 5 minutes of the third were what we needed. Everyone doing the right thing, guys making solid plays & being strong on their sticks,” Clutterbuck said.
Now they’ll hit the road for two in the sunshine state.
BONY 3 Stars:
3rd Star-Johnny Boychuk, Islanders (assist, 3 shots in 4 attempts, 2 hits, 5 blocked shots, +1 in 23 shifts-team high 21:26 including 18:30 EV, 1:31 SH, 1:25 PP)
2nd Star-Andrew Ladd, Islanders (1st goal of season, 2 shots in 5 attempts, +1 in 21 shifts-16:14 including 14:22 EV, 1:25 PP, 27 seconds SH)
1st Star-Cal Clutterbuck, Islanders (GWG-2nd of season, 2 shots in 4 attempts, 6 hits, 2 blocks, +1 in 21 shifts-14:52 including 14:01 EV, 51 seconds SH)
Notes: In his first game of the season in place of injured Travis Hamonic, Pelech was fine picking up a helper while going plus-one in 19 shifts with all coming at even strength (17:08). … Twelve Isles recorded a point in this one. Thirteen players were a plus led by Leddy, who went plus-two along with Hickey, Kulemin and Tavares. … Isles blocked 23 shots led by Boychuk (5) with Dennis Seidenberg recording 4. Canucks went 38-and-25 on face-offs led by Brandon Gaunce (6-and-0) with Henrik Sedin 10-and-8 and Brandon Sutter 12-and-9. Tavares finished .500 going 9-and-9 with Nelson 5-and-6.