John Tavares believes the Toronto Maple Leafs are still searching for their identity after suffering a third straight loss Thursday against the New York Islanders. Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves. Mathew Barzal also had a goal and an assist.
Barzal and the Islanders are now 3-1 against Tavares, and it feels good to see your best player take it so personally and use it as motivation. "It speaks to the commitment that guys have to their roles".
Joe Pavelski scored twice, and Justin Dowling notched his first National Hockey League goal to lead visiting Dallas over Calgary.
Brassard again gave the Islanders a two-goal lead when he took a cross-ice pass from Barzal and scored from the faceoff circle 8:07 into the third. Barzal and Ryan Pulock assisted on the play.
The Islanders were outshot 13-6 in the second period, but Beauvillier gave NY the lead for good when he took a pass from Brassard and scored on the backhand with 3:17 left in the period. The play started when Beauvillier forced Toronto forward Alexander Kerfoot to turn the puck over behind Andersen. "You leave the rink and you try to leave it at the rink but I don't think all of us are built like that", Barrie said. For the first time this season, the Senators earned a victory in a game they trailed after two periods. Morgan Rielly has drawn the assignment with the Maple Leafs' top unit, leaving Barrie with the second unit, one that rarely starts the power play.
When the Maple Leafs acquired Tyson Barrie in a blockbuster trade that sent Nazem Kadri to the Avalanche, there certainly were high expectations. It was Tavares' third trip to Nassau Coliseum as a member of the visiting team. The Swedish forward breezed by Nelson and won a race to the front of the net preceding the goal.
Jake Muzzin knows what Barrie is going through. There was a stretch in the second period when neither team generated anything of outcome (zero scoring chances for the Islanders and seven low-danger shots from the Leafs). "We got ourselves in the spot we are in, we got to grind our way out of it". From the beginning of 2013-14 until the beginning of this season, he was tied for eighth in scoring between defenders during that period with 294 points. The Islanders took advantage when Johnsson carelessly turned the puck over just outside the blue line. "His game is about instincts, his sense of hockey is elite, so he has to play loose, drive and jump", Babcock said. "We are starting to get healthy now and everyone is trying to get a piece of the pie because there are only so many pieces to go around".
Jordan Eberle created the goal that gave the Islanders the lead late in the first period. Last season he had 25 power play points; 30 the year before.
Casey Cizikas scored into an empty net at 17:32 to extend the lead to 5-2 before Holl beat Varlamov on a wraparound at 18:13 to make it 5-3, and Tavares scored on a rebound with 38 seconds remaining to cut it to 5-4. It's a one-goal game at the end, but I would have liked it better at 3-2, to be honest with you.
Mark Borowiecki also scored for Ottawa. "We've just got to sharpen up on a few things to not let them score goals".