The New York Islanders needed a win tonight against their division rivals in New Jersey, but came up short as the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets also kept the pressure on for a spot in the playoffs. Jordan Eberle’s goal in the second period, off a pretty play by Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier was the only tally of the night, as the Islanders missed out on a key two points.
Devils legend Patrik Elias’ jersey was retired at the game tonight in possibly the NHL’s longest ceremony. Festivities started at 6:15 and puck drop took place at 8:30, delayed about a half hour from when the Islanders had expected. This pushed back warmups and likely sapped the energy out of what was an uneventful first period. Despite that, the Isles came out of the first with positives, as they posted a 51.61 CF%, one of the few positive corsi periods in a while. That wouldn’t last, however.
In the second period, the Islanders struck first, as the Barzal line found itself on a three on two. Anthony Beauvillier left a drop pass for Mathew Barzal, who passed back to Beauvillier, who then took a shot that Jordan Eberle was able to put past Keith Kinkaid. It was a great tic-tac-toe goal, and the kind of fancy play we’ve come to expect from Barzal whenever he’s on the ice.
Adam Pelech made a bad pinch that led to a Damon Severson breakaway, but he was able to get back in time to cleanly play the puck away from Severson. He had a little help from Beauvillier to do it, too.
In the last five minutes of the second period, however, the Islanders didn’t register a shot on goal.
The lead wouldn’t last as Kyle Palmieri tied the game 1-1 off a great shot that beat Jaroslav Halak cleanly. Despite the clear need for two points tonight, the Islanders then allowed Palmieri to get on the scoresheet again, deflecting a Sami Vatanen shot past Halak. It was characteristic sloppy play by the Islanders. The Isles eventually pulled Halak for the extra skater, but had both Nick Leddy and John Tavares break their sticks on two separate plays, essentially having the end of the game play out at even strength, as they fell 2-1 to the Devils.
- At this point, the playoffs don’t seem all that attainable. While the Islanders are still in the fight, aiming for the second wild card spot and a playoff matchup against the powerhouse Tampa Bay Lightning seems pointless.
- It’ll be interesting to see where new acquisition Brandon Davidson fits in, but it’s clear that some kind of defensive help is needed.
- The biggest question is what else Garth Snow can do at the trade deadline. I’d shop around Brock Nelson and maybe try and use the picks and prospects to gain a long term asset, but it’ll depend on where the organization sees itself.
Next, the New York Islanders head to Montreal to face the Canadiens on Wednesday. The Canadiens have struggled lately and are without Carey Price and Shea Weber, and could be moving Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec at the deadline. If ever there were a place to get two points...