Perhaps the New York Islanders could use a three-day break.
They had another just okay game at Nassau Coliseum on Monday night, and with the game tied 2-2 late in regulation, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov pounced on a series of poor bounces to get the winning goal with just 3:29 left to play.
That made for a rare regulation loss in a one-goal game — that hasn’t happened since the season opener — and meant the Islanders salvaged just one point from their last three home games of 2019.
The Islanders had a 1-0 lead after the first period on an Anders Lee deflection of a Mathew Barzal shot. Barzal later scored in the second to tie it at 2-2 after the Blue Jackets scored twice in a three-minute span.
The flow of play in the third was largely in the Islanders’ favor, but they couldn’t find the go-ahead goal and that came back to bite them.
Trailing late, Nick Leddy had a shot deflected by Lee off the post, and the Isles set up a few point blasts with Thomas Greiss pulled for a sixth attacker. But their final two rushes were stymied when the Blue Jackets collapsed on Barzal and left him no clear passing lanes.
Andrew Ladd returned to the lineup for the first time since last spring, having completed a rehab and then extended demotion to the AHL to get his form back. He skated 13 shifts and 9:53
Scott Mayfield missed the game with the flu, allowing Noah Dobson to step in his place for 12:47 of ice time. Dobson had a smooth game for the most part, though his pass from behind the net hit a skate and went right to Nathan Gerbe’s stick, who lifted a nifty, quick backhand to the top corner over Thomas Greiss.
That was one of a few mistakes by the team overall that Barry Trotz has felt creeping in...
Thus Spaketh Trotz
Trotz addresses the media after tonight's loss against the Blue Jackets. pic.twitter.com/kNZ2Lz69eO— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 24, 2019
“[The errors] are unforced. They come from thinking outside the box. We talk about being predictable, everybody on the same page. It seems the last few games, one guy’s smarter than the rest, and it gets you into trouble.”
Asked if he chalked the game up to an unlucky bounce (or couple of bounces) on the winning goal:
“Yeah, a little bit [unlucky bounce] but to me the second and third goals are on us. We had an opportunity on a faceoff we won, we tried to do something we didn’t need to do and it ended up in the back of our net. The last one, we could’ve rimmed that out; under pressure we made a small play, they picked it off, got some zone time.”
“I thought we should’ve gotten a point tonight. Taking nothing away from Columbus, they are really unbeaten in seven in regulation, they’re playing well. Some missing pieces to their team, but their young guys are working systematically hard, tracking, not giving you any space, playing free, not much pressure on them, playing hard and playing well.”
The NHL now enters a three-day no-game, no-practice break. We’ll still have some content and podcasts dropping here over that time though. If you celebrate holidays this time of year, do enjoy, have a good one, and thanks for including us in your Islanders addiction.
After the break, the Islanders are in Chicago on Friday, Minnesota Sunday, and Washington, D.C. for a New Year’s Eve showdown with the Capitals.