The New York Islanders went 1-1-2 in their four games played on the road this week. They started the week losing three in a row against the Oilers, Canucks and Kraken respectively. They finally snapped their losing streak by defeating the Calgary Flames in a shootout. Despite the three losses, the Islanders picked up four points with their win and two losses that went past regulation. Their record is 6-6-5 and they sit at 17 total points.
Oilers and New Head Coach Kris Knoblauch Defeat the Islanders
The Islanders began their West Coast road trip by visiting the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. The major storyline in this game was the coaching debut of Kris Knoblauch after the Oilers fired Jay Woodcroft over the weekend. Knoblauch was selected by the Islanders in the seventh round of the 1997 draft and came to Edmonton by way of the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. The Knoblauch era got off to a rough start as Mat Barzal got the Islanders ahead just 40 seconds into the game. However, the next 59 minutes and 20 seconds would not be kind to the struggling Isles. Leon Draisaitl tied the game later in the first to set up a 1-1 tie that lasted until the third period.
At the 7:35 mark of the third, Zach Hyman scored during the first 10 seconds of an Oilers power play to give them the lead. On another Oilers power play just minutes later, Connor McDavid took a shot that bounced and beat Ilya Sorokin to put the Oilers up by two. Trying to get back in this one, the Islanders had a late 6-on-4 opportunity with a power play and an empty net. But nothing came of it, as Evander Kane scored a short-handed empty netter to seal the game. The Oilers would hand the Islanders their fifth straight loss with a 4-1 win.
Blown 2-0 Lead Results in Overtime Loss to Canucks
In Wednesday’s national TV matchup, the Islanders took on the Vancouver Canucks. This would be Bo Horvat’s first time playing in Vancouver since he was traded last season. The Islanders accomplished a rare feat by having tremendous power play success to start the game. First it was Pierre Engvall, scoring his first goal of the year on the man advantage for the game’s opening goal. Brock Nelson followed shortly after with a power play goal of his own to give the Islanders a two-goal lead.
After playing a tremendous first period, things started to unravel in the second period. J.T. Miller capitalized on a Canucks power play chance to bring them within one. Horvat then scored what would become a very important goal at the 8:33 mark of the period, putting the Islanders back up by two. But another failed penalty kill would result in Brock Boeser setting up a 3-2 score to start the third.
With the recent penalty kill struggles, the Islanders biggest third period objective was to stay out of the box. Instead of doing that, they took not just one but two penalties back-to-back to set up a prolonged 5-on-3 opportunity for the Canucks. Filip Hronek capitalized on that chance to tie the score at three. Despite both squads having some great opportunities in the remaining regulation time, this game had to be settled in overtime. It was there that a bad miscommunication between the Islanders defenders resulted in Quinn Hughes breaking away and scoring the game-winner on Sorokin. The 4-3 overtime loss would mark the Islanders’ sixth loss in a row.
Seventh Straight Comes in a Shootout Against the Kraken
The Islanders’ latest attempt to break out of their funk came in Seattle against the Kraken. For the third straight game, the Islanders scored first, courtesy of a power play marker from Anders Lee. However, the badly struggling penalty kill unit would rear its ugly head yet again in this game. The first period ended with the Kraken up 2-1, taking the lead on a pair of power play goals from Matty Beniers and Alexander Wennberg. Casey Cizikas scored the only even strength goal of the game in the second period, bringing up a tied game to start the third.
In that third period, Noah Dobson scored an early power play goal to give the Islanders the lead back. The Kraken would respond with their third power play goal of the game, this time from Kailer Yamamoto, to tie it back up. This would result in overtime and eventually the first shootout of the Islanders season. The Kraken and Islanders went toe to toe for seven rounds before Yamamoto got the shootout winner in the eighth round.
Losing Streak Ends With a Shootout Victory Over the Flames
In the final game of the road trip, the Islanders traveled to Calgary to try and snap their losing streak against the Flames. That effort did not get off to the best start, with Martin Pospisil giving the Flames a first period lead. Later in the period, Hudson Fasching scored his first goal of the season to get the score back even. The Islanders got off to a hot start in the second period to take their first lead of the game. Kyle Palmieri got the go-ahead goal on a power play, followed by Barzal driving in a big goal to put the Islanders up by two.
Down 3-1, the Flames started to stage a comeback. Blake Coleman scored a goal at the end of the second to cut the lead down to one. Then, in yet another third period breakdown for the Isles, MacKenzie Weegar tied the game. Not all hope was lost just yet, as Nelson got the Islanders back ahead just 20 seconds later. But again, the Flames would tie it thanks to the efforts of Yegor Sharangovich. For the third straight game, the Islanders would have to play beyond regulation. Going into the shootout, the Islanders finally pulled together a win. Goals from Horvat and Oliver Wahlstrom secured a 2-1 victory in the shootout. The Islanders ended their seven-game losing streak in a 5-4 shootout win over the Flames.
Featured image courtesy of X/@NYIslanders
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