The New York Islanders had a bounce-back game play-wise against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, but were unable to salvage any points against far superior opposition. The Lightning are one of the NHL’s best teams, and the Isles were unfortunate at times to not score more. The power play may have been the biggest detriment tonight, with the team unable to convert on a 48 second long 5 on 3 advantage. Ultimately, Josh Bailey’s two great goals weren’t enough for the Islanders to earn the win in Tampa.
Less than five minutes into the game, the Islanders took a lead off a Josh Bailey goal. Bailey got the puck from Brock Nelson, held it up in the slot while under pressure from Anton Stralman, and then spun around to put the puck past Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Islanders had a couple of power play opportunities in the period, but were unable to generate shots and convert on the scoresheet. That was a theme for the game, and the Isles were unlucky to only end the period up by one goal.
The Lightning adjusted after being outplayed and outshot in the first period, and were able to convert on their chances, with Mathieu Joseph and JT Miller giving the Bolts the lead. Tampa is really just a good team, and it was obvious they were going to come out strong in the second period. However, the Isles were able to get some of that momentum back, and earned a 5 on 3 power play heading into the third period.
That 5 on 3 power play? Yiiikes. The Isles spent way too much time looking for the perfect pass, and not enough time actually taking shots or even looking to shoot. They’re way too tentative on the power play, and that’s inexcusable for a two man advantage while down a goal.
The Isles had another power play opportunity, but looked terrible throughout, making giveaways that led to shorthanded opportunities and overall not being able to generate any significant offensive opportunities. However, back at even strength, one of LHH’s favorite whipping boys, Adam Pelech created a wrap around opportunity for himself, which then let to a rebound that Bailey buried to tie the game.
Then, with less than two minutes remaining, a bad clearing attempt by Ryan Pulock gave the Lightning control of the puck, and Nikita Kucherov made a perfect pass off to Tyler Johnson, who ultimately scored the game winning goal. Steven Stamkos finished the game off with an empty net goal, and the Islanders fell 4-2.
- The Lightning are arguably the best team in the NHL, so... good game overall? A lot of encouraging takeaways for sure, especially at 5v5, but that power play is a mess.
- Mathew Barzal picked up a point tonight (the secondary assist on Bailey’s second goal), but his line was on for Tampa’s two goals in the second period. He just hasn’t been at his best yet, and it probably doesn’t help that Eberle might be nursing some kind of injury, too. Trotz has to figure out a way to get Barzal going at even strength for this team to be any good.
- Josh Bailey has 17 points in 15 games. You know who else has that exact same point total in the same amount of games? Some pajama-wearing loser who clearly wasn’t the only player making Josh Bailey good.
Next, the New York Islanders take on the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Arena in Florida. Last game against the Panthers, they blew a two goal lead. The Panthers will be heading into the game on a two game win streak, while the Isles will be trying to break their two game losing streak. The Panthers have been a weird team this year, but the Isles will want to get the two points they deserved in the last matchup back.