Islanders drop game to Oilers after James Neal scores 4
Oct 12 2019
James Neal is looking quite comfortable in blue and orange.
Without question, Neal's performance - which included a natural hat trick - paced the Oilers to a 5-2 victory over the Islanders on Tuesday. The experienced winger now has six goals for the season already, which is the most anybody has scored for the Oilers in the team's first three games of a season. After being acquired in exchange for Milan Lucic, Neal's arrival in Edmonton sparked worries that he was no longer a reliable 20+ goal-scorer, but Neal appears rejuvenated playing in a new system under head coach Dave Tippett.
Anthony Beauvillier and Matt Martin scored for the Islanders.
Beauvillier gave the Islanders a short-lived lead by scoring a breakaway short-handed goal with 5:46 left in the first period. Semyon Varlamov, signed to a four-year deal in the off-season, made his second start of the season but was pulled in the second period after giving up four goals on 19 shots.
Neal came back with two goals in the final 2:07 off the period.
With the Islanders trailing 2-1 after 20 minutes, Beauvillier almost tied it three minutes into the middle period, but his shot was stopped by Koskinen.
Edmonton tied the game back up five minutes into the third as Gaetan Haas banked a pass off the side of the net to Nygard for his first career National Hockey League goal.
Neal began and finished the sequence that ended with his first goal.
The Islanders are 1-2 to start the season.
Neal then put Edmonton ahead with a power-play goal after the Islanders' Brock Nelson was whistled for a double-minor for high-sticking. He has seven assists and eight points this season.