In his second game back from a concussion, John Tavares notched the game-winner on the power play, while Toronto’s Brett Lebda sat in the box for interfering with G Dwayne Roloson. The Islanders netminder was again sensational, stopping 29 of 30 shots, many of them in spectacular fashion.
One downer in the victory was C Josh Bailey's departure with a hip flexor injury. No news yet that I've seen on the length of his absence.
Roloson was a thief in the crease all night and the Islanders probably gave up a few more solid scoring chances than they’d have liked, but this is more of a cumulative positive. Since beating the Rangers 6-4 on Columbus Day, no team has scored more than two goals in regulation against the Islanders. And that stretch has included the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Colorado Avalanche, three of last season’s top-six scoring teams.
Since outshooting the Stars 47-22 in the season-opener, the Islanders have posted a shot differential of minus-23 and topped 25 shots on goal just once (against the Rangers). While the Islanders have managed to claim eight standings points in six games, that’s not a formula for long-term success. The Isles need to start putting some shots on the net, or at least start finishing some of their better chances. Even tonight, New York was a pair of disallowed goals from defeat.
The view from behind enemy lines: here’s a Toronto Star story on the handling on Tavares after his injury in the opener.