The New York Islanders could not sustain into 2023 the nice form with which they concluded 2022. A 4-1 loss in Seattle on New Year’s Day ended a brief three-game win streak, which had included convincing performances against the Panthers and Penguins on either side of the Christmas break.
The Islanders got a strong performance from Ilya Sorokin, and a goal from Mathew Barzal in his return to his old junior-days haunts, but overall their game just wasn’t there. Two power plays in the first 22 minutes seemed to hurt rather than help — and the power play remains alarmingly ineffective — and the Isles didn’t even reach 20 total shots on Martin Jones.
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Barzal's 100th goal of his career! pic.twitter.com/xavtk2zjAT— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 2, 2023
They were tied 1-1 at the first intermission despite being outshot 12-6, and they had the bulk of a power play to begin the second period. But they wasted that opportunity, then Seattle regained the lead by converting on a power play of their own right afterward. Ex-Predator and waiver treasure Eelvi Tolvanen, making his Kraken debut, blasted that one home in what held up as the game-winner.
They ended up being outshot badly again in the second, 15-6, and they entered the third trailing 3-1, but they never mounted anything close to a comeback nor a thank you to Sorokin for keeping them in the game.
Consensus from #Isles players and Lane Lambert: Lack of execution, crispness in game. Couldn't initiate clean breakouts, had trouble getting through neutral zone.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) January 2, 2023
Time to break up PP units?— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) January 2, 2023
Lane: "We’re going to look at it obviously in the next day because we had two chances in the first period, the game could have been a different story. That has to start producing. Right now it’s just not. We’ll have to take a good, close look at it.”
If you missed it over the holiday, Oliver Wahlstrom and Simon Holmstrom are officially on IR, though it was already known they weren’t accompanying the team on this trip. Though Kyle Palmieri and Semyon Varlamov are on the trip, Ross Johnston remained in the lineup and Cory Schneider dressed as backup goalie. Parker Wotherspoon also stayed in the lineup, logging 11:10 (and a +1, for what it’s worth) in his fourth NHL game.
Now the Isles head north of the border for the final three games of this four-game trip. It’s the Canucks on Tuesday, which feels like a must-win given the conclusion of the trip is a back-to-back in Edmonton and Calgary on Thursday and Friday.