The sound defensive structure and the solid goaltending are familiar to the Islanders under Barry Trotz. What the team and its coach needs consistently this season is a more of a dangerous, quick-strike offense.
Sunday night’s 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets before 9,923 at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum showed how effective the Islanders can be if they get all three, which they did over the last two periods.
Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier each had a goal and an assist and 10 different Islanders had at least one point.
The Islanders were 21st in the NHL last season with 228 goals and their power play ranked 29th and they still finished second in the Metropolitan Division with 103 points and reached the second round of the playoffs.
It’s clear how they can better that.
Thomas Greiss made 35 saves after Semyon Varlamov started Friday night’s 2-1 loss to the Capitals at the Coliseum in the season opener and Trotz said he plans to split the work early in the season.
“It’s always critical to get both goalies going,” Trotz said. “We’ll just share the workload a little bit, just like last year. Hopefully, both have really good years.”
Laurent Brossoit (29 saves) kept the Jets in the game despite the Islanders’ three-goal second period – easily their best so far –that could have yielded more.
The Islanders’ attack again appeared rusty in the first period, as it was for much of Friday’s loss. Few dangerous chances were created in the offensive zone and the Islanders often had trouble getting the puck over the red line.
Their best chance came on Leo Komarov’s shorthanded breakaway at 13:10 of the first period after the puck hopped over former Ranger defenseman Neal Pionk’s stick at the Jets’ blue line. But Brossoit gloved the shot.
But the Islanders started the second period on the power play after Carl Dahlstrom interfered with Beauvillier at 19:57 of the first period. Beauvillier’s feed set up Bailey’s redirection in the low slot for a 1-0 lead at 1:51 of the second period and Bailey found Brock Nelson in the right circle at 4:38 as Nelson snapped a shot just under the crossbar to make it 2-0. Defenseman Scott Mayfield’s blue-line shot went in off captain Anders Lee’s skate as the Islanders went up 3-0 at 15:55.
Brossoit did make back-to-back pad saves on Nelson’s shorthanded breakaway at 11:15.
Patrik Laine beat Greiss high to the short side from the right circle off the rush to bring the Jets, who rallied from a four-goal deficit in Friday’s 5-4 shootout win at New Jersey, within 3-1 at 17:06 of the second period.
But Beauvillier’s second-effort goal at the crease, backhanding a loose puck under the crossbar, regained the Islanders’ three-goal lead and effectively clinched the game at 1:25 of the third period.
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