The New York Islanders went 0-2-2 in their four games this week, only picking up two points. They blew a big lead against the Capitals on Monday and got dominated by the Bruins on Wednesday. Thursday’s road game against the Sabres featured another overtime loss and Saturday’s game against the Hurricanes resulted in a fourth straight loss. This week-long losing streak puts the Islanders at 51 points, now two spots out of the final playoff spot in the East.
Islanders Blow 3-0 Lead in Loss to Capitals
The Islanders kicked off the week with an important home game against the rival Washington Capitals. Things got off to a great start early, with Sebastian Aho netting a goal from the point in the first five minutes to take the lead. Matt Martin doubled the Isles’ advantage when he tipped in an Alex Romanov shot from the blue line at the 13:19 mark of the first.
Hudson Fasching kept the Islanders rolling in the second, beating Darcy Kuemper with a wrister to go up 3-0 on the Caps. Unfortunately for the Islanders, it all started to go downhill from here. Garnet Hathaway poked the puck through Sorokin’s five hole midway through the second to get Washington on the board. A few minutes later, Tom Wilson scored his first goal of the season to make it a one goal game.
In the third period, T.J. Oshie got a piece of Erik Gustafsson’s shot to tie the game at three a piece. With the Islanders unable to respond in regulation, this game went to the overtime period. In the final minute of overtime, Dmitry Orlov made a couple of good moves with the puck to beat Ilya Sorokin and give the Capitals a 4-3 comeback victory.
Bruins Dominate Second Half Against the Islanders
Wednesday’s home game featured a matchup with the league best Boston Bruins. Much like the previous game against the Capitals, the Islanders started off well. At the 15:41 mark of the first, Zach Parise deflected an Aho shot past Ullmark to take a 1-0 into the second.
When the second period got underway, the Bruins took complete control over the game. Charlie McAvoy scored on a one-timer to tie it up seven minutes in. Later in the period, Semyon Varlamov lost control of a saved shot, which resulted in Derek Forbort pushing the loose puck past the line and giving the Bruins the lead.
The third period served the Islanders no better, with the Bruins adding two more uncontested goals. Brad Marchand scored a power play goal on a slap shot and Trent Frederic buried a shot from the slot to give the Bruins a 4-1 win. Most notable from this game was the Islanders lack of success on the power play, which went 0/6 in this contest. This game also marked the first career start for rookie William Dufour and the Islanders debut for Dennis Cholowski.
Islanders Stunned by Sabres in Overtime
The Islanders visited the Sabres with a packed crowd in Buffalo, all there to witness the number retirement of Ryan Miller. As they did in both previous games, the Islanders struck first in the first period. Anthony Beauvillier set up Brock Nelson with a great pass for him to tip in and break out of a scoring slump. They managed to escape the first period with that 1-0 lead, courtesy of 18 first period saves from Sorokin.
In the second, the Sabres tied things up when Alex Tuch scored off a rebounded shot from Rasmus Dahlin. However, the Islanders still managed to get out of the second with a lead. With just a minute and a half left in the period, Casey Cizikas made a great cross pass to Martin to take back the one goal lead. The third period continued to be a nightmare for the Islanders, with Victor Olofsson scoring from the circle to tie things up again. The Islanders had some great chances to try and take back the lead, but Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen shut them down and helped bring this game to overtime. It took the Sabres just 12 seconds to get the overtime win. Dahlin lobbed a pass from across the ice for Dylan Cozens on a breakaway who netted the game winner for a 3-2 final score.
Hurricanes Hand Islanders Their Fourth Straight Loss
The week concluded with a home game against the Hurricanes on alumni night at UBS Arena. After celebrating some of the best historical Islanders players pregame, the game itself got off to a horrendous start. It only took 44 seconds for Jordan Staal to redirect a shot past Sorokin and give the Canes the lead. Then at the 3:52 mark, Jesper Fast scored on a two-on-one opportunity, giving the Canes a 2-0 lead. This miserable start mixed in with yet another wasted power play opportunity resulted in a chorus of boos from the fans in attendance.
However, the Isles finally showed some life in the second half of the period. Simon Holmstrom barreled into the zone and beat Freddie Andersen with a strong wrister to cut the Hurricanes’ lead. Just a minute later, Nelson scored a wraparound to tie it up at two. But as has so often been the case, the Islanders fell flat in the second and third periods.
The Hurricanes took the lead back in the second when a shot from Carolina’s Sebastian Aho went off the skate of New York’s Sebastian Aho. In the third period, Sebastian Aho of the Hurricanes again got the better of the Islanders’ Sebastian Aho, this time taking a turnover from the Islanders’ Aho and scoring to go up 4-2 at the 7:09 mark. With the Islanders net empty, Sebastian Aho completed the hat trick with an empty netter to secure a 5-2 win for the Canes.
This Islanders team is a disaster on all fronts. In a week of four must win games, they found four different ways to lose. All four losses came with a common theme, and that is their inability to play a complete game. Across the four losses, the Islanders had no third period goals and only two second period markers. And despite how bad that looks, it’s nothing compared to how awful the power play has been. Across their last 20 games the power play is a shockingly bad 3-for-54, going completely scoreless throughout this week.
The defensive side is sloppy in its own right, the best example being the blown three goal lead against the Capitals. There’s just nothing this Islanders team can be consistently good at, Sorokin notwithstanding. It’s becoming crystal clear that they don’t have what it takes to make it back to the postseason. The biggest question about this team is how Lou Lamoriello will handle this year’s trade deadline, or if he’ll even be the man in charge of doing so.
3 Stars of the Week
1. Brock Nelson (Two game-tying goals)
2. Matt Martin (Two goals)
3. Sebastian Aho (Goal, primary assist)
Honorable Mention: Ilya Sorokin (Voted into his first career All-Star Game)
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images
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