New York Islanders 4, New Jersey Devils 3: The Schneider Redemption, with JG Pageau
The New York Islanders followed up their late-season victory this afternoon on national television as they hung on to beat the New Jersey Devils, who made it interesting after falling behind 3 -0.
That 3-0 lead was built entirely on goals from Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who scored a natural hat trick for his first as an Islander. The Devils, shooting old friend Cory Schneider – making his Islanders debut and playing and starting his first NHL game in more than two years – twice cut the Islanders’ multi-goal lead to one, but the Islanders held on. Kyle Palmieri’s late insurance goal proved to be the game winner.
Andy Greene made a return to the roster after taking warm-ups and sitting out the New York Rangers demolition on Friday night, but that was far from the biggest roster story.
Semyon Varlamov was coming off three games in four nights, including a shutout in the third of those games, which was the second in a straight streak. Today would have been four days out of six, which was too much. And the Islanders played the Devils this afternoon. Put it all together, and it was the perfect recipe for Cory Schneider’s Isles debut.
#He is in warm-ups
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) April 3, 2022
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First period: The Pageau Show
Early on, Oliver Wahlstrom took a short pass from Mathew Barzal and laser fired it at Daws’ blocker, and Casey Cizikas went for a good sneaky close. And then Andy Greene skated out of the point and found Zach Parise near the open side of the net, pulling him with his stick and narrowly missing the net. On the rebound, Parise tried to pull Daws out from behind the net. Yet we remained aimless. Amidst it all, Schneider made his first save of the game, coming out on top of his crease to stop Jesper Bratt.
It appeared that Mathew Barzal was about to break away on a breakaway, but the play was called off because Noah Dobson was caught hitting back a cross-check with a cross-check. But they killed it, in part because of a nice pad save from Schneider on Jack Hughes.
The Islanders, after controlling most of the period, finally broke through to earn the game’s first lead. Adam Pelech hit Kyle Palmieri with a nice stretch pass to propel him through the neutral zone. Now on an odd run, Palmieri popped a nice saucer pass where Pageau was all alone, and he slid the puck through Daws’ five-hole.
Shortly after the goal, Jesper Boqvist took a penalty for tripping over Zdeno Chara, and the Islanders quickly converted, with Pageau scoring his second goal from the frame. Pageau dug the puck from the corner into soft ice to Anders Lee. Lee had time to get around Damon Severson and shoot. It was a bit of a miss, but the puck came straight to Pageau, who slid towards the net and hit the loose puck. Lee had broken his stick just before the goal and found himself in the free space on the return, Parise’s stick in his hand.
That’s how the period ended, with the Islanders leading 2-0 through Pageau. Additionally, Nathan Bastian took hits throughout the period, including blocking a shot with the boot of his right skate. He was briefly out for the second period but returned directly to the hall.
Second period: Hats off to Pageau
The Devils started the period strong, but Schneider closed the door. One case saw him get in front of a point shot that Greene deflected with both his stick and his knee. Then Wahlstrom hit Hughes just after Hughes played the puck. Wahlstrom led with his shoulder, but Hughes planted his leg to push, and Wahlstrom’s knee went into Hughes’ thigh. It was a free kick, however.
Hughes cautiously left the ice and PK Subban ambushed Wahlstrom to earn two, five, 10 and a game misconduct for the instigator. Hughes went back to the bench and took a ride, then he took a shift, but he couldn’t put any weight on his leg.
Not much happened for the Islanders on their power play, but as Andreas Johnsson came out of the box, Pageau and Palmieri nearly scored on another odd run just after the Islanders foiled a potential chance outnumbered.
The Islanders got another power play when Ty Smith interrupted an odd-man rush by knocking out Barzal’s legs. On the first draw of the power play, Pageau had time and space but sent the puck wide. Throughout the two minutes, the Islanders moved the puck well, but it looked like they were trying to help Pageau score a hat trick.
Well, it didn’t happen on the power play, but it did happen soon after. As the show discussed the illustrious careers of Isles GM and President Lou Lamoriello — including his time as a high school math teacher — Palmieri threw a puck into the corner, and Pelech caught it on the rebound , shooting from long range on the goal line . He ricocheted to Pageau who was waiting at the crease with a gaping net, earning him a natural hat trick. He even grabbed a hat on his stick as he skated to the bench.
Only 47 seconds later, however, the Devils took to the board. Severson tossed a puck from the point and Boqvist tossed it up in the air. And then the Devils went powerplay due to Cizikas clicking skates with Daws and being called for goalie interference. The Islanders killed that penalty with no problem, however, and the score remained 3-1 before the final intermission.
Third Period: A Little Hairy, Like Palmieri
In the opening seconds of the period, Schneider had to make a hard save on a toe floater and another on Hischier’s rebound try. Then he landed a blow with the glove. He also caught a flare from the tip of Janne Kuokkanen’s stick, a shot that may have changed direction on Palmieri’s stick.
The Islanders’ first good chance of the period came when Cizikas fired a shot from the boards that Matt Martin deflected while standing in front of the net. But they failed to convert and the Devils came back the other way to score on an odd run. Johnsson’s pass was interrupted but only slowed by Anthony Beauvillier, and Tomas Tatar, with space, picked it up and fired from the crease. The Islanders’ lead was reduced to one goal, 3-2.
In their attempts to extend their lead, the Islanders got big chances from Wahlstrom out of the run (two chances) and Palmieri, who pushed Daws’ mask away. New Jersey mostly controlled the third period, but Palmieri ultimately gave the Isles some insurance. He took a small pass from Pageau and crossed the blue line in the Devils three, but he found some space away from Smith and fired a shot under the arm and over the leg from Daws.
The Devils fired Daws for the extra forward and had several chances past Schneider before Hischier picked up the puck and covered it to make it 4-3. Again New Jersey pulled their goaltender out and in the first run Dougie Hamilton found Hischier for another close goal which Schneider interrupted with his toe, but the Islanders withstood the danger and won 4- 3.
Notes and thoughts
- It was Pageau’s second hat-trick in the regular season; his precedent also came at the Prudential Center when he was with the Ottawa Senators shortly before being traded. He also had two hat tricks, including his four goals against the Rangers, in the playoffs for Ottawa. He also assisted on Palmieri’s goal for a four-point night. Pretty cool that he did it on TNT.
- It’s good to see Palmieri score a goal against his former team too. Assisting on two of Pageau’s goals, he finished the night with three points.
- Pelech’s assist on the opening goal was his 100th career point. Lots of milestones lately! And he added two more assists. Pageau, Palmieri and Pelech combined for three goals alone, and Lee got the only assist on Pageau’s second goal, so only four guys scored, and three of them had at least three each.
- It was Schneider’s first NHL victory since March 6, 2020, before the pandemic. Good for him. He’s been a good soldier for the past two seasons, and I’m sure it feels good to beat the team that released him.
- The Islanders have now won four straight games for the first time all season, including three games on the road. They also won the season series against the Devils 3-1.
- The show had Brendan Burke a few times about skidding and saying “on Long Island” in the past week, and it was pretty funny. Liam McHugh and Darren Pang did it well.
- Today’s game featured two of the NHL’s most experienced head coaches, Barry Trotz and Lindy Ruff. Today was their 38th game against each other, and they entered with a tied record (with a tie). Trotzy jumps ahead.
- After the Devils second goal, I heard the crowd spell “DEVILS” like at the end of this episode of Seinfeld. You must like it. You must also like the number of Islanders fans in attendance.
The Islanders continue this road trip by hitting the road (and not playing in the metro area). They’re making stops this week at Dallas, Carolina and St. Louis, in that order — not the logical order to keep Dallas and St. Louis games on the same swing, but whatever — and it starts on Tuesday. night against the Dallas Stars. It will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET.