The Islanders lost 3-2 to the Montréal Canadiens in a shootout Sunday afternoon at UBS Arena. The Islanders fall to a record of 18-20-7 (43 points) while the Canadiens improve to a record of 10-33-7 (27 points). This game marks back-to-back wins for the Canadiens after recently losing 10 straight. The Islanders find themselves in a 1-4-1 slump after their post-all-star break win against the Vancouver Canucks. Another important note from this game is that it was Andrew Hammond’s first NHL start in four years for the Canadiens. This was his first win as a starter since the 2015-16 season when he was a member of the Ottawa Senators.
The game got off to a rough start for the Islanders as a Matt Martin roughing penalty at 2:38 led to a Canadiens power play. The Islanders successfully killed the penalty, but found themselves down 1-0 shortly afterwards. Jeff Petry scored on a wrist shot at the point that found its way past traffic in front of Ilya Sorokin at 9:01. This was initially ruled a deflection off the stick of Michael Pezzetta, but was later changed to be Petry’s goal. The Islanders had two power-play chances in this period, but scored on neither of them. However, a Jake Evans hooking penalty right at the end of the period set up the Islanders for their first five on three chance of the year at the start of the second period.
The abbreviated five on three was not successful for the Islanders, but they did manage to capitalize on the late Evans penalty. Kyle Palmieri deposited a Zach Parise rebound on his backhand past Hammond to tie it up at one on the man advantage. The Islanders had another power-play chance after a Kale Clague tripping penalty at 12:07, but weren’t able to repeat their earlier success.
The Canadiens got a power-play chance of their own after Artturi Lehkonen drew an interference penalty after being held up by Sebastian Aho. The Islanders successfully killed this chance too, with their PK unit going for a perfect 2/2 on the day. Trouble struck for the Islanders towards the end of this period when Josh Anderson scored the game-tying goal at 18:49. The opportunity came from a sharp angle and Anderson had plenty of space to perfectly aim his wrist shot up high and past Sorokin.
The Islanders were generating some strong chances in this period, but Hammond held them off the board for the majority of it. Sorokin had his strongest period of the game and helped keep the score locked at 2-1 until late in the period. At 17:03, Kieffer Bellows tipped a pass through the neutral zone to a speeding Brock Nelson who scored through Hammond’s five-hole to tie the game and eventually send it to overtime.
The overtime period was exciting and saw both sides find some quality scoring chances, but neither were able to capitalize and the game went to a shootout. Anthony Beauvillier scored first for the Islanders, deking out Hammond and scoring on his backhand. Cole Caufield answered with a goal of his own by beating Sorokin through his five-hole. Hammond was able to stop Mat Barzal in round two, but the Canadiens scored again via Rem Pitlick. Brock Nelson was the final hope for the Islanders in round three, but he too was stopped by Hammond to give the Canadiens the victory.
Every Islanders fan semi-joked about this happening the minute Hammond was announced as the starter. His 30 save performance is by far and away the biggest contributor to the Canadiens taking this game from the Islanders. This is not to say the Islanders weren’t without their flaws throughout. The play that resulted in Anderson’s second-period goal emanated from an Adam Pelech turnover in the neutral zone. In addition, they only managed one power-play goal out of four chances against a bottom three penalty kill unit.
There was also a moment in overtime where Barzal was wide open in the high slot and tried to pass it off instead of getting a shot on net. Hammond was exceptional in this one, but falling to the worst team in the NHL was both avoidable and flat-out embarrassing. The season continues to fall in a tailspin for the New York Islanders who once had Stanley Cup aspirations. The next game for the Islanders comes on Tuesday night where they meet the Kraken for their first game at Climate Pledge Arena.
Featured image courtesy of Newsday
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