Once again the New York Islanders hung close with the Montreal Canadiens into the third period. Once again they fell short, making it a weekend and full-season November sweep for the Habs. This time the final was 4-2, but that's just details.
Of this month's three regulation losses to the Canadiens, this one may have looked like the best effort by the Islanders. (Not that it's any consolation; park your "no excuses" language over in the Complaints Department.) It was also the most frustrating.
The Isles struck first late in the first period (John Tavares), only to give up both a power play and a shorthanded goal in the second period. Then they worked relentlessly to tie it on Anders Lee's goal midway through the third on some ridiculously wonderful passing, only to have Taylor Beck's dubious goalie interference penalty cost them as the Habs scored the winner on the ensuing power play with 3:29 left to play.
The obligatory empty net goal by Max Pacioretty completed scoring.
The Pivotal Penalty Call
The Islanders were understandably pissed about the penalty on Beck as he drove by the outside of the net and Price drew the call, which was...we'll call it debatable and curious, but as they also acknowledged, the Isles lost the special teams war in a big way. Beck's penalty came right after the Islanders came up short on a power play of their own. The Canadiens struck immediately on a great passing play to Alex Galchenyuk.
Said the captain:
"I thought Price went down pretty easy," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "I don't see him going down when he's fighting through traffic that way. Our guy's skating, not even in the crease. It's a tough call to make. I didn't really see the too-many-men, but our bench wasn't happy. We lost the special teams battle so obviously there's no excuse there, but definitely some things didn't go our way."
And the coach, in Newsday:
"Our penalty kill has got to be better," Jack Capuano said. "The last couple weeks, we've given up goals and they're all timely ones. We're right where we need to be tonight, tied with five minutes left, and we don't give ourselves a chance."
Adding insult and exclamation to the matter, the Isles were called for too many men two minutes later (another call that enraged the Isles bench, but it was the right call). The Canadiens earned this sweep.
So Beck was in the lineup for Steve Bernier in a rotation of 13th forwards. Adam Pelech (10:45) also saw his second NHL game in place of Marek Zidlicky.
Boychuk Rockets Gallagher's Fingers Off
Not to be gruesome, but next month and for any year following in which I remember this frustrating and anonymous November game, it will be because of what happened to poor Brendan Gallagher when he stepped in front of Johnny Boychuk's shot.
The pain was instantly evident -- like so instant that he threw his glove off before he was finished with his first spin. Sounds like Gallagher, who was on a hot streak, broke two fingers:
Gallagher's gone to the locker room after blocking a shot with his hand pic.twitter.com/j6CPunPcDG— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 23, 2015
OH GOD HIS FINGER pic.twitter.com/zqhC7s5KsQ— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 23, 2015
I remember once a Doug Wilson slapshot removed the tip of Paul Cavallini's finger, which he found in his glove. Tonight's incident, it...it almost looked worse.