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Wild 2*, Islanders 1 (*SO): Seriously, do y’all even practice the breakaway drill?

The Islanders reached a shootout, their eternal kiss of death.

New York Islanders v Minnesota Wild
A shootout comes as close as possible to replicating actual game action.
Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

The New York Islanders’ shootout futility has reached hilarious, epic-bad proportions and could cost them a playoff spot.

Tuesday night they went to the NHL’s bonus-bonus round again, and again their opponent needed only one conversion to deny them an extra point. The Islanders are 0-5 in shootouts this year, after going 2-6 last year. But just as bad — or insulting, really — they don’t even lose fun shootouts, because they never score. Never. Over the last two seasons, they have 5 shootout “goals” on 44 shots.

The 2-1 loss was a fair, toss-up kind of result for two teams from opposite conferences playing not to lose in regulation. The goal scorers were as unlikely as an Islanders shootout conversion, the result as satisfying as watching the winning shootout goal dribble over the line after getting a healthy chunk of Ilya Sorokin’s glove.

[NHL Gamecenter | Game Summary | Event Summary | Natural Stat Trick | HockeyViz]

First Period: WTF?

Josh Bailey and Ryan Reaves scored goals.

That’s the tweet.

Well before that most unexpected chain of events, Ross Johnston and Reaves fought just two minutes into the game. It was a long preamble, followed by a few semi-connected shots for each, plus a lot of grappling, and a lot of post-fight Reaves dramatization, per form.

Earlier, from the pre-game availability:

Bailey’s goal, his first in a quarter season (24 games), came from some nifty work by the {blinks} new fourth line of Johnston, Bailey and Otto Koivula. Koivula showed some nice moves around the net to keep possession and eventually feed Scott Mayfield at the point. Bailey did really well to kick the rebound of Mayfield’s shot up to his stick for an easy deposit.

Reaves’ tying goal came with just two minutes left in the period, and four minutes after Bailey opened scoring. He batted in a fat airborne rebound after an ugly Noah Dobson turnover from his own zone, where the Isles D must not have realized the Islanders were changing.

Second Period: Are we human or are we sleeping

The Wild had the better of play in the middle frame, aided by some sloppy Isles play in their own zone. But overall, the second period was scoreless and, for the most part, a carefully played territorial slog.

There were chances — notably Brock Nelson going in from a sharp angle on left wing only to shoot wide — but they were few and far between, shots just 8-6 for Minnesota after the teams traded 15 shots apiece in the first.

Between periods, Thomas Hickey predicted Lane Lambert might shorten his bench for the third, with the Islanders looking at several days off before their next game. That proved true, though the Johnston-Koivula-Bailey line didn’t get much time in the second period either.

Third Period: Rinse, repeat

Same. Officially, the Isles outshot the Wild 14-6 in the third period, and they forced some nice saves from Filip Gustavsson. But both teams looked quite content to get a regulation point and then take their chances in the NHL’s various extra-time gimmicks.


Zach Parise had a juicy one-time opportunity at the back door, set up by Ryan Pulock and Nelson on a 3-on-2 after a Wild forward crashed into Sorokin and got stuck there.

Casey Cizikas got himself a nice rush down the left wing but at an angle that Gustavsson cut off well.


Sorokin stopped the two most frightening Wild shooters, Mats Zuccarello and Kirill Kaprizov, who each seemed to overthink it. But at least they got decent shots off.

Sorokin got a whole lot of the puck on the shot by the third Wild shooter, Freddie Gaudreau, but not all of it as it bounced down and in

On the Isles’ side, Simon Holmstrom made a good move, but lost the handle. Bo Horvat made lots of moves, but no threatening shot. Kyle Palmieri made no move, and was outwaited by Gustavsson to secure the final result.

Up Next: We wait...

So now the Islanders are off until after the trade deadline. Their latest trade, Pierre Engvall from the Leafs, was one of a flurry of moves around the league today from teams pretending they can stop the Bruins from winning it all.

While the Islanders sit, the Sabres (who lost tonight) and Penguins (who won) will each make up one of their games in hand, before all three teams are in action on Saturday.