The Islanders did not score more than six goals all of last season.
They scored seven on Saturday night.
If New York’s new-look offense is going to take steps forward under first-year head coach Lane Lambert, this certainly was a big one in the right direction in a 7-1 blowout of the Anaheim Ducks at UBS Arena for head coach Lane Lambert’s first win as full-time head coach.
Five of the Islanders’ (1-1-0) seven goals came from defensemen, including two apiece from Scott Mayfield, who had three goals all of last season, and Robin Salo. It was the first time since 1993 that two Islanders defensemen posted multi-goal games.
New York had four players in total record multiple points, including three assists from Anders Lee and another two helpers from Mathew Barzal. Anthony Beauvillier added a goal and an assist alongside Mayfield’s two tallies.
“I know I was confident because of the good things I saw in Game 1,” Lambert said referencing his team’s season-opening 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers. “I talked about the pockets that needed to be improved on. We talked about it, we worked on it, and we saw a little bit more of it coming into play tonight and we moved the puck a little quicker and we were together as a group.”
They got their first lead of the year through the defenseman, who cleaned up a loose puck right at the doorstep 10:34 into the game.
Off what looked like a broken 2-on-0 opportunity after a shoveled entry pass from Brock Nelson skittered away from Lee, the captain cut toward the net and slid a pass across the face of John Gibson’s goal. The loose puck fell right to Mayfield, who stuffed it home for the Islanders’ second goal of the season, which up to that point had both been scored by defensemen.
“It just worked out tonight,” Mayfield said. “It’s a full team effort… It’s been good so far.”
Just 1:24 later, Dobson got his second of the season double the host’s lead when his pass from the right point was deflected in by an Anaheim defenseman to cap off a period that ended with the Islanders outshooting their opponents 12-6.
For Dobson, he became just the third Islanders defenseman in franchise history, joining Denis Potvin (3 in 1978) and Chris Campoli (2 in 2007), to score multiple goals in the first two games of a season.
Mayfield joined him on this list a period later at the 12:55 mark of the second period when he sniped a wrister into the upper-right corner of Gibson’s goal to put the Islanders up four.
Salo picked up a quick two in the second half of the third period to make it a trifecta for what once was a franchise rarity.
Before his brace, though, Wahlstrom became the first Islanders forward to score in 2022-23, putting them up 3-0 5:34 into the second when he was played behind the Ducks’ defense by Jean-Gabriel Pageau. On the break, the young winger making his season debut listed in from the right face-off circle and deked to his backhand, lifting his chance over the pad of Gibson and into the back of the net.
“The chemistry is starting to come,” Wahlstrom said of his line and the Islanders’ offense. “Usually I’m a shooter but I decided to try something new [with the backhand].”
With 5:33 left in the second, Anthony Beauvillier made it five when he received a pinpoint pass from Ryan Pulock from the right boards to the left post where he quickly fired it beyond Gibson’s stick side.
After a dominant second, the Islanders came out flat in the third — and Anaheim spoiled any hopes of an Ilya Sorokin shutout. Just 1:29 into the period after monopolizing possession from the drop, Troy Terry wired a wrister over the Islanders’ netminder to get the Ducks on the board.
Sorokin stopped 22 of 23 shots in the blowout victory.
He had to be especially sharp to keep the Islanders’ advantage as comfortable as it was, making three saves during an Anaheim 5-on-3 power-play opportunity that lasted 1:13.
Just after an Islanders power play expired, Salo made it six at the 13:03 mark of the third when his one-timer from the point trickled through backup Ducks goalie Anthony Stolarz, who stepped in for Gibson at the start of the third.
He capped it off with one minute to go when another shot from the point squeaked through the Anaheim netminder.
“If you create a little bit of space, sometimes that’s all you need,” Lee said.
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