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Red Wings 3, Islanders 0: Penalized and empty

Nothing went well, and the Islanders caught no breaks.

New York Islanders v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

The New York Islanders ran into penalty trouble, never got their game going, and suffered a series of loss-contributing events on a dull afternoon in Detroit. That all combined for a completely forgettable 3-0 loss to the Red Wings on an afternoon when the host franchise spent a lot of pre-game activity celebrating their Stanley Cup wins 25 years ago.

Key moments included a goal conceded on a 5-on-3 that should never have been called, and a shorthanded goal conceded on Ilya Sorokin’s first shot faced after he was unexpectedly pushed into the game.

The Islanders were still in it entering the third period down 2-0, but they couldn’t capitalize on the push that had already eluded them in the first 40 minutes. When the Red Wings potted a third goal midway through the final period, that was curtains — and the first shutout of the season suffered by an Islanders offense that had been rolling through five straight wins.

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The Islanders survived a first period where they were heavily outshot and found “no rhythm” as they faced two well-spaced penalties. Semyon Varlamov was good, stopping a lot of tight-angle and in-traffic shots among his 13 saves.

In the second, things turned early and quickly. Oliver Wahlstrom understandably objected to what looked (in live action) like a high hit on Mathew Barzal by Lucas Raymond. A predictable scuffle followed, with everyone paired off, but Wahlstrom was assessed the only penalty.

After the Isles had killed off about half that penalty, Raymond had a great chance right in front of Varlamov, but Adam Pelech lifted his stick — below the gloves — an entirely legal and excellent thing to do to diffuse the chance. But the back ref was fooled, or imagining things, and called hooking on Pelech, despite allowing Casey Cizikas to gain possession and clear (while getting slashed by Raymond, incidentally).

That put the Isles down two men, and though they stopped the first few chances, a down-low pass that was stopped by Ryan Pulock’s skate ended up sitting on a platter for Raymond (of course) to put home open scoring at 6:29.

After the Islanders were assessed the game’s first four penalties, it was finally their turn when Dylan Larkin was sent off for roughing.

But there was a catch: This penalty, another group scuffle, followed a sequence where Zach Parise pushed Raymond (of course) into Varlamov, compressing the neck of both. Varlamov was checked out and seemed okay, but was pulled from the game for concussion protocol.

A cold Sorokin stepped in, and his first shot faced was a shorthanded breakaway, right after Brock Nelson’s one-time was flubbed (and redirected by Anders Lee’s apparent high stick). Pius Suter finished the breakaway with a nice shot high-corner to make it 2-0 at 12:51.

Sorokin finished the period, facing just one more shot on goal. Varlamov returned for the third and faced only four more shots.

The Islanders didn’t go away quietly, but Dominik (!) Kubalik scored with a sneaky shot on a partial 2-on-1 at 10:13 to put the game away. The Isles did pull Varly for a sixth attacker, but Ville Husso completed his shutout with 12 third-period saves.

Lambert Speaks

“Give them credit, they played well. They took away time and space, but we didn’t play fast enough. There’s no excuse for it. ... We have to be better”

Varlamov’s Okay

Varly said he felt ready to continue right away, but spotters said no. He said he felt fine after the game, too.

Up Next

It’s a good thing Varly was okay, because it’s a busy week ahead, including a back-to-back Monday and Tuesday back home to the Flames and the Rangers.