On Tuesday night, the New York Islanders defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in impressive fashion, winning this one 7-2. Although the Maple Leafs were the better team coming into last night’s test, it’s safe to say the New York Islanders certainly didn’t shy away.
In the opening period, all was going well for the blue and white. After a flurry of saves early from Ilya Samsonov, Maple Leafs forward Sam Lafferty scored his first as a Maple Leaf. A shot from Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren clipped the body of Sam Lafferty in front, redirecting the puck into the Islanders goal. The blue and white took the lead at 11:09 into the opening frame and led after twenty minutes.
Once the second period was underway, the New York Islanders jumped right back. Only twenty-eight seconds into the period Islanders forward Zach Parise tied the game. After both teams went back and forth trying to get the lead, it was the Islanders again who added one 13:50 into the period. New York’s Hudson Fasching capitalized on a failed breakout attempt from Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren, leading to the Islanders second goal.
Despite the blue and white getting some good looks, New York added their third goal before the blue and white could find their second. This time closing out the period was Cal Clutterbuck getting his 5th goal of the season. Another failed breakout by Maple Leafs forward David Kampf led to a deflection in front for Cal Clutterbuck. The Islanders took a 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
Once the third period kicked off, Maple Leafs fans across the globe were hoping the blue and white could find their groove. Only 3:29 into the final frame, Leafs star Auston Matthews showed his elite awareness to find teammate Mitch Marner alone for a one-timer. This was Mitch Marner’s 27th goal of the season, making a game of this one early in the third.
Even though the Maple Leafs start was promising early in the third, it all went downhill from there as the Islanders tucked in four more goals to end this one. Starting with Cal Clutterbuck adding his second of the game and 6th goal on the season. An odd man rush the other way led to Cal Clutterbuck walking on in, firing one up high on Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov just after the Maple Leafs scored.
After Cal Clutterbuck’s goal, teammate Simon Holmstrom added the Islanders fifth goal of the game. A loose puck in front of Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov led to the Islanders forward banging in the rebound. Minutes after Simon gave the Islanders a three goal lead, Head Coach Sheldon Keefe decided to pull Ilya Samsonov for the extra-attacker. However, Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson flipped the puck up from his own end into the Maple Leafs goal.
Despite the New York Islanders taking a commanding 6-2 lead late, the fans on Long Island were gifted one more. Late in the third period, a shot from New York defenseman Noah Dobson clipped a piece of teammate Anders Lee’s stick, redirecting the shot through the Leafs goaltender. The Islanders took a 7-2 lead with only 3:14 remaining and closed this one out easily for the victory.
This was a game that Leafs nation will certainly want to forget. On the bright side, the blue and white will have a chance to redeem themselves on Thursday vs. Florida. It’s important to consider that the Islanders needed these points tonight, and the same story will be for Florida on Thursday. The New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, and Pittsburgh Penguins are in a competitive race for the Eastern wildcard spots, making Thursday another tough game for the Maple Leafs. The blue and white should be successful if they come prepared and clean up the lapses in the defensive zone, expect Matt Murray to suit up for that one in Sunrise.
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