Islanders head into All-Star break with heads held high
It has not been a good week for the Islanders. With seven games in 11 days, they’ve pissed away multiple games and the second spot in the Metro Division. They were blown out by the Rangers in Madison Square Garden a little over a week ago, gave away a point against the Rangers at home thanks to a bad Derick Brassard penalty with just a minute to go in the game and blew a three goal third period lead against the Washington Capitals.
It’s been bad and quite frankly it’s very unlike Barry Trotz’s squad. The past two weeks have been more reminiscent of the Jack Capuano/Doug Weight era Islanders, blowing third period leads and being wildly undisciplined.
The Islanders had a chance to right the ship and keep a hold on their top three Metro standing with their meeting Tuesday night against the Rangers. The two teams have seen each other three times in nine days, and it was a lopsided affair for about 55 minutes.
The Islanders capitalized in the first period on two Rangers penalties. Josh Bailey tipped a Noah Dobson shot off a Rangers’ defenseman and in to start the scoring. Mathew Barzal was excellent in the first period and finished off a great period with a wrap around pass to Anthony Beauvillier in the slot, who buried the wrister past Alex Georgiev.
The Islanders stayed relentless in their pursuit for the puck in the second, as Barzal found Anders Lee in the slot for a slapshot goal to increase the lead to 3-0. The Rangers threw plenty of shots at the net through the first two periods, but most of them were low-danger shots and Thomas Greiss stood on his head when he needed to.
The game looked to be completely lost for the Rangers when Brock Nelson won an offensive zone faceoff, got the puck to Josh Bailey, who threaded a perfect pass through the slot and back to Nelson for an easy open net goal. Scott Mayfield took an extremely dumb penalty that turned out to be a double minor.
The double minor nearly brought the Rangers back into the game, as Pavel Buchnevich and Chris Kreider both scored on the Power Play. The Islanders then subsequently took another dumb penalty, a delay of game one. The delay of game was brought on when the Islanders made the wrong changes on the faceoff.
Luckily for them, Thomas Greiss stood tall, making 40 total saves and 13 in the third period. The Islanders killed off the 6-on-4 to essentially end the game and get a much-needed win. The Islanders head into the All-Star break with 29 wins and 63 points.
An interesting tidbit of this game was that Mathew Barzal was benched for almost the entirety of the third period. It wasn’t mentioned exactly why, only that it wasn’t injury related and that according to Barry Trotz was “between Mathew Barzal and the coach”.
The Isles sit third in the Metro as they head back home, two points clear of the second Wild Card Columbus Blue Jackets. They were exhausted heading into this game but it’s no excuse. If they’re going to make noise in the playoffs, they need to trade for a legitimate top six forward. They also need to shore up their defense, as the loss of Adam Pelech has really shown some holes in the defense.
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