In ending their points streak that didn’t feel too much like a points streak, the New York Islanders conjured a new problem for themselves in a 4-2 home loss to the Minnesota Wild.
No, they didn’t carry a big third-period lead to blow. And no, they weren’t terribly outshot this time.
Instead, a tight, tied game in the third broke open when penalties kept them from regaining the lead, kept them from holding the tie, and kept them from having a chance to claw back into it once the damage was done.
The Isles conceded in the opening rush of the game, an alert finish by Pat Maroon after an insightful feed from behind the net by Joel Eriksson Ek, who gave the Isles all kinds of problems throughout the night.
But they recovered to tie at the midway point of the first period with a good forecheck by the Identity Line and a blistering one-timer by Noah Dobson, already his fourth goal of the year.
The Isles got the lead in the second on the power play(!) after a great move on the blueline by Pierre Engvall, then an even greater cutback move by Oliver Wahlstrom to split two defenseman, then unleash his shot to the far corner.
But the Wild tied it a few minutes later, setting up the third period of disrepute. The Isles didn’t start the third off poorly, but one penalty (killed), then another (not killed) put them behind.
Worse, just 42 seconds after Kirill Kaprizov’s power play goal, Ek got the insurance goal to make it 4-2 with 12:28 left to go. The Wild pretty well shut things down until the Isles had a 6-on-4 late in the game.
- The third-period infractions were a careless high stick by Casey Cizikas (after he had a case to make that he was pulled down) and a sloppy high stick (called a rough) by Dobson. Late in the game but with there still time to come back, Scott Mayfield took an unnecessary penalty for a check (really an elbow) to the head.
- Semyon Varlamov got the start, but his good run ended with four goals against, some of them well beyond normal reach.
- Adam Pelech returned and was fine; Bo Horvat did not, so Mat Barzal slid back to center, between Anders Lee and Wahlstrom.
- Lee was pretty unnoticeable, but Barzal and Wahlstrom each had their feet moving for a pretty active night.
So the struggling Wild do the New York sweep, while the Islanders bring some concerning trends and nagging injuries into Boston on Thursday.