For the third time in three tries on this road trip, the New York Islanders started a game poorly. They recovered once, but they dropped the other two, including tonight’s 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
Ilya Sorokin kept them in it through the first period, preventing the score from being 4-0 and holding it to 2-0. Mathew Barzal scored for the fifth game in a row and the deficit was only a goal, but Edmonton pulled away later in the second period.
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The Oilers jumped all over the Islanders to start this game, spending most of the opening minutes hemmed in their own zone until Parker Wotherspoon took a tripping penalty. But the league’s top power-play team didn’t convert there.
After the Islanders failed to keep possession on what could have been an odd-man rush, Connor McDavid led a rush the other way and cut toward the slot for a snap at Sorokin. Sorokin sprawled out to make the save and prevent any rebound chances from going in, but the Islanders took another penalty, this time Anders Lee for interference.
Early in the kill, Sorokin athletically held the post to cut off a dangerous chance but lost his stick in the process. Again, the Islanders kept the puck up high, but a broken clear gave Leon Draisaitl a chance to blast from the right face-off dot to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead.
Shortly after the goal, the broadcast reported that it was 14-2 Edmonton in shots on goal, with Draisaitl responsible for five of them on his own. The Islanders only came over the blue line a few times, but couldn’t set up because they were gassed from defending. The only one driving the net was Hudson Fasching, who drew a penalty in the last couple of minutes. Great news, except that it generated only one dangerous chance and led to a shorthanded goal for Kailer Yamamoto. The period mercifully ended with the Islanders trailing only 2-0.
The Islanders got on the board early in the period when Casey Cizikas took another shift with Josh Bailey and Mathew Barzal. Cizikas picked off a pass in the neutral zone and gave it to Bailey for the entry. Bailey got it to Barzal, and Barzal scored for a fifth straight game to make it 2-1 Oilers.
Bailey to Barzy and it's 5 straight games with a for Mat!! pic.twitter.com/3AcbvFZ7FV— Isles on MSGSN (@IslesMSGN) January 6, 2023
Not long after the goal, Brock Nelson and Hudson Fasching ran a two-on-one that ended with Fasching ringing the puck off the post. Shots were at one point 7-1 Isles for the period, but Edmonton re-took a two-goal lead when Dylan Holloway’s shot from the high slot became his second NHL goal.
And it didn’t take long for the deficit to reach three goals when Alex Romanov lost Zach Hyman for a breakaway, which he backhanded past Sorokin. But the Islanders got one back before the second period ended. Cal Clutterbuck, returning to the lineup for the first time in eight games, tipped a floater by Scott Mayfield from the point with less than a minute remaining.
a goal from #15 in his first game back with the #Isles. pic.twitter.com/1UHKuVLLtw— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 6, 2023
There was a hairy moment when a puck took a funny bounce with Sorokin out of the net and had everyone scrambling, but it did not result in a goal against, fortunately.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins slashed Nelson in the back of the legs in the Isles’ zone to give the Islanders their third power play. This attempt was a little better, but still didn’t earn the Islanders a goal.
The Islanders pressed, but not well enough to score. Aatu Räty got called for playing the puck with his hand on a face-off and the Isles killed it off, but it didn’t generate much momentum. They pulled Sorokin with just under 3:00, but scored no goals. 4-2 Edmonton.
Right back at it tomorrow night a little further south in Alberta. The Islanders wrap up this trip out west with a 9:00 p.m. game at the Calgary Flames.