When the Islanders acquired Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson in the offseason, everyone who follows the NHL and the Islanders figured they would’ve shored up their horrid goaltending situation from a season ago. But so far, that hasn’t been the case and it was very evident in Tuesday Night’s 4-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
Coming into Tuesday Nights contest, Islanders fans knew this was a big game for their team, who will depart for their most challenging road trip of the season beginning on Thursday. But for portions of the game, it didn’t seem the team felt like so. The Islanders got off to a great start, with Brock Nelson converting on a powerplay just 1:16 in. They then received two more powerplays in the period but failed to convert. All was well through the end of the first but then things dramatically changed early on in the second.
More from Editorials
- Islanders key to success: Load management with goalies
- Islanders Zdeno Chara trending in the right direction
- Islanders: Semyon Varlamov Deserves Benefit of the Doubt
- Islanders Ilya Sorokin becoming number one goalie
- Islanders Zach Parise Was Quiet in Return to Minnesota
Just 24 seconds into the period, Islanders forward Nikolay Kulemin received a game misconduct for his boarding of Mark Stuart, resulting in a five minute Winnipeg powerplay. The Jets would go on to score twice on the ensuing powerplay, receiving goals from Andrew Ladd and Paul Postma. Both of these goals were not very good ones as they were a result of the Isles getting out-muscled and out-manned down low. Jacob Trouba then added another Winnipeg goal halfway through the period, another awful goal surrendered by Halak. But just three minutes later the Isles would answer back as John Tavares netted his fourth of the year on the powerplay which was followed up by a Mikhail Grabovski goal off a beautiful Lubomir Visnovsky assist to tie the game a little over a minute later. So after all of that, the Islanders headed to the room with all of the momentum and a tie score, 3-3.
The Islanders seemed to come out flat in the third, something which was truly disappointing considering the way they finished the second. In the final frame, the lone goal from Andrew Ladd just three minutes into the period proved to be the difference. Throughout the period, both teams traded some opportunities but nothing materialized for New York. The Islanders would threaten later in the game on a powerplay of their own but the comeback efforts were foiled as they fell 4-3 to the lowly Jets.
Three Stars of the Game
1. Andrew Ladd, WPG.- 2 goals(GWG)
2. Bryan Little, WPG- 3 assists, +2
3. Brock Nelson, NYI- 1 goal, 1 assist
NYI PP: 2/5
WPG PP: 2/4
1. The Top Line– Tonight the top line really seemed to struggle at five on five. Both John Tavares and Kyle Okposo were too selfish with the puck and played east-west hockey, which resulted in them struggling greatly. It may be time to find these two a new linemate as Cory Conacher doesn’t seem to be cutting it. I think the top two candidates at this point would be Mikhail Grabovski(who played in that spot for much of the third) and Anders Lee.
2. Jaroslav Halak- Like I mentioned in my brief introduction, Jaroslav Halak’s performance tonight and to this point in the season has been very disappointing. He has surrendered a great number of bad goals, including at least two or three tonight. The third goal was no doubt his fault, as he allowed a weak Jacob Trouba shot to ricochet off his glove and in. He also shouldn’t be allowing goals like the first and second in my opinion, but some of that you can put on the defense. The fourth goal was poor rebound control by Halak but I can’t fault him due to Kyle Okposo’s poor backchecking. The bottom line here is Jaroslav Halak needs to be better for New York to continue their early season success.
3. Nikolay Kulemin’s Hit–In his short career as an Islander, Nikolay Kulemin has thoroughly impressed me with his gritty, SMART physical play. But the hit Kulemin laid on Mark Stuart just 24 seconds into the third which resulted in a five minute major was the furthest thing from smart. It resulted in a five minute powerplay without one of the Isles best penalty killing forwards on the ice. The Isles would surrender two goals on the powerplay and this was the turning point in the hockey game. We now wait to see if the NHL takes any disciplinary action on Kulemin.
The Isles kick off their five game road trip with a visit to Colorado to take on the Avalanche on Thursday Night.