Folks, I must be honest, I am home on Long Island for the weekend, and when my mother has Bunco (a dice game with the neighbor ladies, don't ask) my father, my brother, and I go to Applebee's for wings and ribs. For that reason, my first and second period recaps may not be fully accurate, or not fully comprehensive. If I left out anything important, I implore you to reply in the comments.
The game started innocuously enough. It was a relatively even first few minutes, with a lot of back and forth hockey that was reminiscent of Game 1 of last year's playoffs.
Ageless Wonder Jaromir Jagr took a trip with 13:03 left, and then Ryan Strome and Aaron Ekblad got into a bit of a dance, but they couldn't generate anything. EDIT: on the power play. They couldn't generate anything on the power play.
A period that was largely uneventful finished up with Brock Nelson putting home a rebound off a shot from Calvin de Haan with only 22 seconds remaining. I must say, it is a hell of a lot nicer being on the other end of those.
Nelson found his way on to the scoreboard again, getting credit for a goal that was initially given to Nick Leddy. Leddy took a shot from the point, and Nelson got his stick on it before it reached Roberto Luongo, who knocked it backward with his glove into the net. SELF UPDATE: Leddy was later credited with the goal. And I thought I was drunk.
Isles had over a minute of 5-on-3 time but couldn't get anything of significance accomplished.
In a moment of WTF is going on, Jagr initiated contact with Jaroslav Halak, and the ref recognizes this, immediately waving off the goal that Ekblad supposedly scored. Then, after some discussion, they decided the Panthers scored. The Isles challenged, and then it was determined it was not a goal. Never before have I seen such poor decision-making from referees; I mean, even when they're wrong, they stick to it and move on. The Isles lucked out though.
After two periods in which the refs made many penalty calls, they decided it was (mostly) time to put their whistles away, feeling the players should decide the game. As you can imagine, this lead to some conflict, including Jason Demers giving Shane Prince a smack upside the head in front of the Islanders bench.
Kyle Rau scored his first career NHL goal after recovering his own rebound and beating Halak short side. Good for him, but nerve-wracking for us, as the Panthers closed the gap to within one.
The Isles caught a break when John Tavares drew a penalty with 2:49 left in the game, essentially leaving the Panthers with only 49 seconds of time where they could really pressure the Islanders and try to tie the game. Gerard Gallant, who earlier lost his timeout challenging the first Islanders goal, decided to switch his goalies in order to give his guys a breather. It paid off, as the Panthers snuck one past Jaro with 13.6 seconds remaining. To overtime we head, with a pretty grim feeling.
Tavares has been rather undisciplined the last few games. He took a penalty early on in the game against the Lightning that gave them their first goal, and tonight he took a penalty in the first minute of OT. The ensuing PP saw the Panthers keep the puck in the Isles zone for almost its entirety, save for one clear that clipped a linesman.
The Islanders were never able to regain control of play during overtime, and with 45.8 seconds left, Denis Malgin tipped it home.
Halak and Cold (I'm sorry)
The other night against the Lightning, Halak was, let's say, underwhelming. He gave up 3 goals in the first 24 minutes, almost murdered one of his fellow players, and then actually murdered what I believe to be a water cooler.
Tonight, however, he was on top of his game, keeping the Islanders in despite them being heavily outshot. Not only that, he made more than one highlight reel save to ensure the Islanders had a chance to win tonight. And yet, he gave up a soft goal - which seems to be happening quite a bit lately, if my biases aren't interfering too much - to Jonathan Marchessault (yet another one of the Panthers' bargain bin gems, like today, when they claimed Seth Griffith, like I said this shitty team should do. I'm sorry, do I seem mad?). That being said, the team certainly didn't give him any help...
So, I don't want to turn this into a whole thing, but the Isles finished the night with 24 shot attempts at 5-on-5. Not shots-on-goal, shot attempts. I probably don't need to tell you this, but that's fucking awful. Especially when you consider Florida had 56. This is becoming a very common theme, and both the eye test and the stats reflect it. The roster is not very good, and neither is the strategy. It is, extremely, time to clean house.
The Isles will play the Lightning for the third and final time this season (who the hell makes these schedules) on Monday at 7:00 p.m. Maybe we won't suck!