What a difference 24 hours can make.
On Wednesday night as the Islanders prepared to face-off with the Anaheim Ducks, there was a feeling of “here we go again” around the club and fans. An overtime victory in Anaheim followed up by a shoot-out win against the Stanley Cup Champion Kings Thursday night and the good vibes were rolling again on Long Island.
The New York Islanders hosted the visiting Dallas Stars tonight at Nassau Coliseum, hoping to take advantage of a team that played on the road last night. They may not be able to say that they did just that, but Frans Nielsen's hat trick helped propel the Islanders to a 7-5 win on home ice.
The first period started with a quick tempo pace from both teams, as they both got plenty of chances early in the game. Chad Johnson was forced to make a sprawling save on a breakaway, and Anders Lindback had plenty of traffic in front for the first twenty.
The traffic in his crease would eventually lead to the first goal by the Isles. Brock Nelson fed the puck to Calvin de Haan at the far side of the Stars’ blue line before letting go of a wrist-shot that was redirected behind Lindback by Anders Lee for his first goal of the year.
The Penguins beat the Islanders 3-1 behind strong special teams play. Patric Hornqvist had 2 goals including an empty netter, and added an assist. Penguins star Evgeni Malkin had the other Pittsburgh goal and also had a helper on Hornqvist’s first of the game.
The Islanders, who lost for the first time all season, started the game strong. New York jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal by Thomas Hickey in the first.
The New York Islanders (4-0-0) will look to continue their winning ways tonight when they visit another Metropolitan Division rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1-0) at the Consol Energy Center.
The Penguins are going to look to come out strong from the gate after a heartbreaking loss to the Dallas Stars 3-2 on Thursday night. The Pens were headed to overtime with the Stars, but Tyler Seguin would score a power play goal with only 3 seconds remaining on the clock while Sidney Crosby sat in the penalty box.
A tough loss to swallow will likely have Crosby and Co. fired up and ready to go on home ice from the second the puck is dropped.
As the “Lets Go Islanders” chants rained down from the Madison Square Garden rafters, while the horn sounded on an entertaining game, the Rangers’ Ryan Malone showed the only fight the Rangers could muster in the 3rd period by giving a couple of cheap shots to Brian Strait. Too little too late, as the Islanders took the first matchup of the season against their rivals in an impressive 6-3 victory.