What’s the point, really? The New York Islanders seem incapable of playing a 60 minute game, the defense stinks, the forwards stink...
It was nice to get Adam Pelech and Kyle Palmieri back, and to see Samuel Bolduc make his NHL debut, but the team’s issues go beyond any one player. It’s the rotating cast of characters on Barzal’s line, it’s minimal production out of allegedly top six players Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Bailey. It’s the impotent power play, which is hovering around a hard to believe 5%...
It’s a joke, and there’s no quick fix coming. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sick of hearing canned answers from everyone as another season for our team that is built to win right now slips away.
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The Islanders got out to a good start in the first, forcing Ilya Samsonov into saves on Casey Cizikas and Kyle Palmieri, who returned to the active lineup with a ton of energy.
Ilya Sorokin made a couple of saves on David Kampf and Rasmus Sandin, keeping the game scoreless.
Brock Nelson was high sticked by William Nylander and it went uncalled, despite the ref being right there, but it gave us the unfortunate horror of witnessing Nelson pull his own tooth out on the bench. Gross!
Despite blowing that call, Adam Pelech was called for a weak tripping penalty. Sorokin made a good save on Mitch Marner on the PK, and the Isles killed it.
In the final minute of the period, Sebastian Aho took a shot that got behind Samsonov, and Anders Lee was able to clean it up, giving the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
The #Isles Captain Anders Lee buries the rebound for the lead in the final minute of the 1st period! pic.twitter.com/KDbey5bErS— Isles on MSGSN (@IslesMSGN) January 24, 2023
The Islanders got a 3 on 2, but Alexander Romanov couldn’t put it in. Anthony Beauvillier had a shot saved by Samsonov, and then the game opened up a bit, both goalies making some solid saves as the scoring chances went back and forth.
Then, John Tavares set up Nylander to tie the game.
About a minute later, though, Lee scored his second of the game to give the Islanders back their one goal lead.
Lee home a Palms for a 2-1 #Isles lead pic.twitter.com/grLjHInSgz— Isles on MSGSN (@IslesMSGN) January 24, 2023
Kyle Palmieri was called for interference, and the Isles PK seemed to be going well, until a bad change gave Tavares a breakaway and he tied the game at 2 each.
Then, a minute and a half later, Calle Jarnkrok made it 3-2 off a pass from Nylander.
The Islanders tried to get it back, with a flurry of shots that were blocked before making it to Samsonov, and Simon Holmstrom had a shot saved.
But, Michael Bunting was able to get a breakaway, and was pushed down by Romanov, which led to an awarded penalty shot for the Maple Leafs.
Sorokin was able to save Bunting’s shot, but a minute later, Nylander would make it 4-2, getting his second goal and fourth point of the game.
With 30 seconds left in the period, Justin Holl went to the box for hooking, giving the Islanders their first power play.
The Leafs killed the penalty, Bunting put a shot off the crossbar after a bunch of Leafs pressure, and inevitably Auston Matthews put the game out of reach, making it 5-2 on a breakaway.
Casey Cizikas and Timothy Liljegren both went to the box for roughing, and the Islanders would get a final power play with the game already out of reach with about 40 seconds left, as Pierre Engvall was called for tripping.
But the Islanders would lose, yet again, and twice blew the lead, yet again.
Next, the Islanders head to Ottawa on Wednesday night to take on the Senators. They seem to be in the same tier of teams that the Islanders have been able to beat (read: bad), so maybe they’ll be able to score more than 2 goals and hold onto a lead.