Islanders Bowl Over Oilers In 8-1 Thrashing

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(Getty Images)

Anders Nilsson was hoping to have a strong performance in his first career game against the team that drafted him. But the New York Islanders scored three first period goals sending Nilsson to the bench and routing the Edmonton Oilers, 8-1 at Barclays Center.

Johnny Boychuk scored the opening goal with a blast to kick off the scoring. It was No. 55’s first goal in his second game since returning Saturday from an upper body injury that he suffered in Buffalo on New Years Eve.

John Tavares and Nikolay Kulemin followed with goals of their own to put the game out of reach on the first 10 shots. It was the captain’s ninth point (4 goals, 5 assists) in the team’s previous six games. After an up and down first half of the season, Tavares appears to have found his rhythm.

With 8:36 remaining in the first period, former Rangers’ backup goaltender Cam Talbot entered the game, replacing Nilsson who allowed three goals in the first 10 shots he saw. Talbot stopped the remaining six shots of the opening frame but the damage was already done.

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Thomas Greiss started for the Islanders after Jaroslav Halak and J.F. Berube both played in the 5-1 loss against the Red Wings. It was Greiss’ first start since January 12th.

“It’s been a little while, but he’s practiced extremely hard,” Islanders’ coach Jack Capuano said of Greiss before the game. “He takes a lot of pride on and off the ice on how he handles himself. He’s got to come up big for us here today.”

Alternate captain Kyle Okposo earned his second career hat-trick as he tallied three goals. Josh Bailey also got on the scoresheet with a goal in the second period. The Islanders started the day on the outside of the playoff picture but do have several games in hand on the teams they are chasing.

“I think guys look at [the standings],” Capuano said pregame. “You don’t want to look too far ahead of your opponents. You can take a glance at it, and I’m sure they do, but I’m just worried about today.”

Connor McDavid made his first NHL trip to Brooklyn and scored the lone Oilers goal in the second period. Former Islanders first-round pick, Griffin Reinhart also made his first appearance against New York. Reinhart was traded to Edmonton during the most recent NHL draft for multiple draft picks.

The Islanders will travel to Columbus as they prepare to play the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena.

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