Oliver Wahlstrom strikes for a pair, Islanders win 2nd-straight 5-2 over Sharks

Oliver Wahlstrom Islanders Ducks
Oliver Wahlstrom (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Lane Lambert might have stumbled across something when he mixed up his Islanders’ lines late in the second period, moving winger Oliver Wahlstrom up to the second line alongside Brock Nelson and Anders Lee. 

In a 6:20 span across the second and third periods, Wahlstrom scored twice to lift the Islanders (2-1-0) to a second-consecutive victory — a 5-2 result over the San Jose Sharks (0-5-0) on Tuesday night at UBS Arena.

“We weren’t going as good as we wanted to be going so we had to just make a little shake-up and see if that led to a spark,” Lambert said. “Fortunately, it did.”

After missing the first game of the season, the 22-year-old winger now has three goals in his last two games.

His opening goal of the night with just 56 seconds remaining in the second period proved to be the game-winning goal, which was also a rapid reply to Evgeny Svechnikov’s tally for the Sharks to tie it at two just 1:54 earlier.

Wahlstrom received a face-off won by Nelson on the left boards, meandered toward the middle of the dots, and snapped a wrister past Sharks goalie James Reimer for his second goal of the season and in as many games. 

“It just happened,” Wahlstrom said of the line change. “Things happened to click and I had some good looks.”

He doubled the Islanders’ lead with that lethal wrist shot 5:24 into the third period to complete his brace — firing a laser from a difficult angle at the right hash of the right face-off circle.

“I like to shoot from everywhere,” Wahlstrom said. “Try to catch the goalie off guard or something.”

“He’s playing free,” Lambert added. “I like the little details that he’s doing and I think any time you’re a guy who’s a shooter or a scorer, if you do the details and the little things in the game, it leads to that.”

The Islanders had to play from behind initially despite outshooting the Sharks 44-29 on the night and bossing most of possession as a slew of turnovers ultimately saw them trailing after the opening 20 minutes. 

Nico Sturm managed to bully his way down the left wing to establish possession in the Islanders’ zone before ultimately jumping on a Semyon Varlamov rebound and flicking a backhander over the netminder and in at the 12:50 mark. 

The Islanders put together an overwhelming second period to take the lead. They found an initial reply 10:03 into the frame when Lee got off the mark in 2022-23, tipping an Adam Pelech shot over Reimer, who had been superb in quelling a major New York push in the second period that saw a dangerous power play opportunity and a Cal Clutterbuck breakaway chance turned aside. 

Just 4:45 later, Zach Parise got on the board with his first goal of the season when he redirected a Noah Dobson feed with his foot. 

While Islanders defensemen scored six of their first eight goals of the season, the forwards accounted for all five on Tuesday night.

“We were the ones who put it in the net tonight but we really don’t care how it goes in as long as you have more at the end of the night,” Lee said. “We just needed to pick it up, take an extra step together, and it paid off.”

Another lapse allowed the Sharks to come up with an equalizer just 2:22 later. Kyle Palmieri and Anthony Beauvillier fumbled the puck at the Islanders’ blue line, allowing Matt Benning to force a shot toward goal that was redirected in by the foot of Svechnikov, prompting Lambert to shake up his lines and move Wahlstrom up from the third line to the second.

Following Wahlstrom’s outburst, Clutterbuck put the cherry on top with an empty netter with 2:26 remaining in regulation while in his season debut, Varlamov made 28 saves.

For more on the Islanders, visit AMNY.com


More from around NYC