This game feels like the perfect example of all of the problems people have pointed out about the Islanders this season. The defense struggled, the forwards struggled to connect passes and give a 60 minute effort, the power play was inert while the penalty kill relied heavily on the brilliance of Sorokin...
A frustrating loss, given all the opportunities to win, or at least come away with a point, and it caps off a frustrating road trip where the Islanders picked up just 4 of a possible 10 points.
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To start off the game, the Islanders survived a precarious situation where both Scott Mayfield and Anders Lee broke their sticks blocking Rangers shots, but the Rangers couldn’t take advantage. Then, as the Islanders finally got into the offensive zone, Anders Lee took a slashing penalty.
Panarin hit the post on the power play, but that was the best chance for the Rangers. Following their power play, Jonny Brodzinski took a tripping penalty, sending the Islanders to the power play.
That power play didn’t get much accomplished, and the Rangers killed it. Despite those 5v4 opportunities for both teams, 10 minutes in there were less than 5 total shots on goal in the entire game for both teams.
Sebastian Aho struggled tonight, and nearly tipped in a shot from Barclay Goodrow while trying to block it.
But, at the other end, Alex Romanov took a shot that Anders Lee was able to put in off Ryan Lindgren’s skate, giving the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
Romanov gloves it down fires it towards the net and Anders Lee shot pinballs in for the #NYI lead! pic.twitter.com/qrGhHEZx7Y— Isles on MSGSN (@IslesMSGN) December 23, 2022
The Isles had to go on the penalty kill again as Mayfield was called for holding, and then Noah Dobson put the puck over the glass on a clearing attempt where he had tons of time and space, giving the Rangers a 5 on 3.
They were able to kill the 5 on 3 thanks to some big saves from Sorokin and JG Pageau doing his best to cut off passing lanes. But, while killing off just Dobson’s penalty, a one-timer from Panarin made it 1-1.
Kaapo Kakko was forced into a turnover by Josh Bailey, who then poked the puck up to Mat Barzal. Barzal skated himself into a full breakaway and put the puck past Sorokin on the backhand to make it 2-1.
Barzal makes no mistake on the breakaway for the #Isles lead! pic.twitter.com/PPUd1CS7J2— Isles on MSGSN (@IslesMSGN) December 23, 2022
But, just a few minutes later, Julian Gauthier would get past Robin Salo and tie the game.
A few minutes after that goal, however, Alex Romanov scored his first goal as an Islander, scoring on a screened shot from just inside the blue line, restoring the one goal lead.
Romanov's knuckle puck makes it 3-2 and his first goal as an Islander pic.twitter.com/TZTvQUSHBz— Isles on MSGSN (@IslesMSGN) December 23, 2022
Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas collided with each other on the ice, and both were in some pain. While Martin was able to continue, Cizikas went to the room shortly after and didn’t return for the rest of the game.
Anthony Beauvillier made a sloppy turnover that lead to a lot of Rangers pressure, but fortunately the Isles were able to clear the puck after an extended shift in their own defensive zone.
Romanov took his own delay of game penalty, which the Islanders killed thanks to a huge Sorokin save on Mika Zibanejad.
After that, the Rangers took a too many men on the ice penalty, that led to a good save from Igor Shesterkin on Brock Nelson. Shorthanded, Barclay Goodrow nearly scored for the Rangers, but Sorokin was able to make the save.
Three minutes into the third, Barclay Goodrow scored to make it 3-3. The puck bounced off Goodrow’s body and past Sorokin.
Sorokin saved a Jacob Trouba wraparound attempt, and then Romanov took a hooking penalty. Mika Zibanejad hit the post, and shots from Adam Fox and Vincent Trocheck were saved by Sorokin.
The Islanders had a couple of opportunities to retake the lead, as Nelson and Pageau both hit the iron, before Scott Mayfield took a late and unnecessary cross checking penalty.
Sorokin made some big saves to try to secure a point for the Islanders, but just after the PK, K’Andre Miller got the puck from Barzal in the corner and passed it off to Kakko, who scored to make it 4-3 Rangers.
The Islanders pulled the goalie shortly after, but Trocheck scored to make it 5-3 Rangers, securing the win.
Next, the Islanders return to UBS Arena tomorrow to take on the Florida Panthers. The Panthers are coming off two losses to the Bruins and Devils, and just like the Islanders are looking to bounce back after a tough stretch.