Seems like the Bo Horvat boost is officially over, as the Isles have gone back to their losing ways, dropping three straight games (though mercifully, I suppose, at least picking up two points) against some pretty weak competition.
This game is particularly annoying, coming against a debutante goalie who made a ridiculous 46 saves (!!!) in his first-ever NHL game, and some of those were actually somewhat difficult ones, though the Islanders certainly made it pretty easy on him.
The thing is, this team still wants to make the playoffs, and unless a lot of things change (including probably getting a new coach), that’s just not happening. The Islanders were missing a key guy tonight, with Otto Koivula taking the place of JG Pageau, turning the Cizikas line into the de facto third line. Maybe that was the difference tonight, but I don’t buy it.
To start us off, Nikita Zaitsev and Noah Dobson both hit posts, keeping the game tensely scoreless.
Brady Tkachuk nearly gave the Senators the lead, but couldn’t deposit a Tim Stutzle rebound.
The Senators would get the first power play of the game as Scott Mayfield went off for delay of game, and Ilya Sorokin made a big save on a one timer attempt. Erik Brannstrom also hit the post.
Kyle Palmieri had a shot blocked by Jacob Larsson, and Ottawa really did do a pretty good job of defending their rookie goalie from very dangerous shots.
Tkachuk took a hooking penalty, sending the Islanders to the power play, but the Senators were able to kill it.
Sorokin made a couple of good saves early, one on Artem Zub from a weird angle, and a big on Tkachuk.
Zach Parise had a shot saved by Kevin Mandolese, and then the Islanders headed to the power play again, as Otto Koivula drew a penalty from Dylan Gambrell.
The power play actually looked pretty good (gasp) but couldn’t get anything past Mandolese.
Shortly after it, though, Ryan Pulock made it 1-0. Matt Martin was able to hold on to the puck through some serious backchecking, and passed it off to Pulock, who put it past Mandolese.
Alexander Romanov then took an interference penalty, and Sorokin was the Islanders’ best penalty killer, doing everything to maintain the Isles’ one goal lead.
Alex DeBrincat took a boarding penalty shortly after, when he hit Sebastian Aho in a somewhat dangerous spot. The Senators killed that, too, and a little bit after, Tim Stutzle would make it 1-1.
The Islanders again got a power play, early in the third, when Stutzle went to the box for high sticking, but again couldn’t convert.
Kyle Palmieri was then called for interference, and Tkachuk scored on that play, giving the Senators a 2-1 lead.
But then, Brannstrom was called for interference a little bit after that, and Brock Nelson would tie the game at two off a one timer.
The Islanders took some momentum from this, even spending a shift in Ottawa’s end for over two minutes, but they just couldn’t seem to get anything super dangerous towards Mandolese.
Despite their best efforts to get something in regulation, the game ultimately went to OT.
OT + SO
The Islanders dominated overtime, and even got a gift of a 4 on 3 power play when the Senators were called for too many men on the ice. But, story of the season, they couldn’t take advantage of their chances.
The game went to a shootout, where Bo Horvat and Kyle Palmieri missed their attempts, while Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson scored theirs.
Next, on Friday night, the Islanders will be hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have the exact same amount of points as them, but with 5 fewer games played. Needless to say, if playoffs are at all in the picture, all these divisional games count so much more.