You probably went to sleep, and on any normal night just as well you should've. But instead of coughing up a two-goal third-period lead on Monday night, the New York Islanders reversed a 3-0 deficit to shock the Vancouver Canucks, 7-4.
We'll give you a moment to seek third-party verification and let that sink in. (But in case you're eyes are groggy, your math is correct. The Isles won the third period, 7-1. They did this despite losing Michael Grabner in the second period after an elbow to the head.)
Even this unlikely path to road trip redemption wasn't particularly dramatic nor late. The Islanders had tied it at 3-3 within the first four minutes of the third period, with three consecutive power play goals (a franchise record for one period, as was the seven goals) in a 2:23 span.
The sequence of seven goals went like this:
- Josh Bailey started it by finishing a low Brock Nelson feed to the doorstep at Eddie Lack's left.
- Given a 5-on-3 after Kevin Bieksa quite obviously knocked the net off in a panic, Ryan Strome finished from Lack's right after Okposo faked a shot from the high slot.
- In the blink of an eye (22 seconds later), Calvin de Haan tied it on the remaining 5-on-4 with a seeing-eye shot from the point.
- Tom Sestito then took a Tom Sestito penalty, leaving his feet to try to behead Colin McDonald and no doubt "light a spark" after his team had just coughed a sure win away. Frans Nielsen then scored what was a second too late to be the Islanders' fourth power play goal, a rebound of an Okposo shot aided by Anders Lee's screen.
- Sometime afterward, the Canucks registered their first shot of the third period.
- Sometime amid all of this, John Tortorella had the Slow Boil of Disbelief.
- This being the Islanders, they did lose that third-period lead after all. Chris Tanev tied it at 4-4 at the 9:54 mark.
- Hilariously, just 10 seconds later Matt Martin took the lead back on a seemingly harmless backhand from the high slot. Tortorella pulled off a calm madman's smile I've not seen before, even from him.
- Just 1:41 later, Lee gave the Isles an insurance goal after driving the net on a great power move to create a chance, then happily slamming in the second rebound after Lack ended up in No Canuck's Land.
- (Mind you, this all happened by the 11:45 mark of the third period.)
- The teams paused for rest and to phone Guinness for verification.
- The Canucks would get just three more shots on goal (five total for the period, to go with a franchise record-tying seven goals against), and Cal Clutterbuck iced it with an empty netter at 19:42.
At the final horn, none of the Canucks greeted Lack except for captain Henrik Sedin. Miraculously, the Vancouver fans did not throw their seats on to the ice. But would you have blamed them if they rioted outside after the Canucks symbolically set tire fire to their season?
Hockey doesn't always make sense. Sometimes the completely shocking occurs. That's probably why we stay up late to watch it, against our better judgment, in the hopes of seeing something different.
After 40 minutes of uninspiring hockey yielded a 0-3 deficit that should chase even the most diehard fan to bed, the Isles did just that. They wrap up a frustrating four-game road trip (2-1-1, but should have been 4-0-0) on a high note. They have three days to enjoy it until they resume normal operations Friday at home to the Sharks.