Islanders Edge: 2nd and 3rd period collapse causes Isles losing streak to grow to 3
photo credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images
Infuriating, enraging, exasperating, shameful, and stupefying. These are the words that come to mind when reflecting on the New York Islanders’ performance on Thursday. Just 376 days prior, the Islanders had blown a 4-1 lead to Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals on home ice. Thursday night, they blew another three-goal lead to the 2018 Stanley Cup Champions. 9:50 into the first period, young Isles sniper Oliver Wahlstrom (2018 11th overall pick) scored his first NHL goal on a lucky bounce. Jean-Gabriel Pageau recorded his second assist of the year, and just eighteen seconds later and 10:08 into the first period, Casey Cizikas scored his first goal of the year on a tip-in front off of Cal Clutterbuck’s shot from the blue line. This was Clutterbuck’s second assist of the year. 17:39 into the first, Anders Lee scored his third goal of the season, with Mathew Barzal and Noah Dobson recording their fourth assists of the year. What could go wrong? It turns out, everything. 9:07 into the second frame, Connor Sheary scored his first goal of the season. Consistent Norris Trophy candidate John Carlson picked up his sixth assist of the season, and Brendan Dillon his third. Just 1:13 later, Sheary tipped Zdeno Chara’s shot behind Semyon Varlamov and into the net. That’s Chara’s second assist this season. Richard Panik was also credited with his second assist of the season. At 11:11 into the second, Carl Hagelin and Nic Dowd set up Garnet Hathaway for his second goal of the season. Tie game. Oliver Wahlstrom was sent to the penalty box at 12:56 for a hook against T.J. Oshie. Caps power-play quarterback John Carlson one-timed a blast by Varlamov’s glove side, from what is usually Alex Ovechkin’s spot on the power play. Justin Schultz and Nicklas Backstrom were both awarded assists on Carlson’s third goal of the year.
As if things couldn’t get worse from there, they did. Zdeno Chara scored his first goal as a Washington Capital. Justin Schultz picked up yet another assist (his fourth on the year), and longtime AHL player Mike Sgarbossa was credited with his first assist of the season. In the final frame, the isles outshot the Caps 11-1 but failed to get anything past Vitek Vanecek. At 16:48 Richard Panik was assessed a minor boarding penalty against Casey Cizikas. Before the puck dropped in the Caps’ zone to start New York’s power-play, Varlamov went to the bench, and the Isles sent out their extra attacker. The Isles failed to get anything going, Jordan Eberle tried to carry the puck into the zone but was called offside, and the Isles power play continued to struggle. At 18:12, Ryan Pulock was called for tripping Tom Wilson. We can only hope that Pulock is alright after looking a bit shaken up after the knee-on-knee collision. Mathew Barzal didn’t like the call and was assessed a misconduct for having a word with the officials. At 19:41 into the final period of play, Tom Wilson sealed the deal, scoring his fourth goal of the year into New York’s empty net. Backstrom and Oshie were both credited with assists.
An Isles team known for their formidable defense and ability to hold leads looked like the exact opposite of that Thursday night. In the first twenty minutes of play, the Isles controlled the puck, the pace, and the game. That all changed in the final thirty minutes of the game. The Wahlstrom-Pageau-Bellows line was buzzing for the majority of the game and proved every reason why they should be together for a while. Tomorrow is a new day. Saturday and Sunday are new games for the Isles. It is still only seven games into the season, and this loss needs to be put behind everyone, especially Barry Trotz’s Isles.
The Islanders travel to Philadelphia and take on the 5-2-1 Flyers on Saturday and Sunday in a back-to-back. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM Eastern Time.