New York Islanders Fall Short in Final Game of West Coast Swing

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Jaroslav Halak
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Jaroslav Halak /

The New York Islanders dropped the final game of their west coast swing to the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night. The Isles just weren’t up to the challenge.

The New York Islanders were looking for their second straight win when they made their only trip to the Staples Center this season. Back to back games are always tough, especially on a West Coast trip, but they must start picking up points to keep up with the rest of the division.

I was annoyed to see Doug Weight went with the same lineup, leaving Anthony Beauvillier in the press box for the second straight night. This would have been the perfect game to get some fresh legs back in there against a good Kings hockey team.

It took the Islanders a while to get their legs going and like most of these west coast games, the Kings controlled play early. The defense has struggled in the Islanders zone all year and it’s one of the main reasons the team finds themselves so often playing from behind.

The Kings struck first late in the opening frame when Adam Pelech tipped an Anze Kopitar shot past Halak. The Kings were running circles after the Isles defense and Pelech was in the wrong place at the wrong time. There were way too many turnovers in the first and you can’t let the Kings get more chances than they already are going to generate themselves.

Barzal’s First

The second got off to a much better start. The Isles dominated the first 10 minutes and finally were playing competitive hockey. The offense buzzed for a long time in Kings zone before finally breaking through. With eight minutes to go in the period, Josh Bailey got his second goal of the year when he hacked one passed Darcy Kuemper to tie the game at one. There was really good movement on the goal. All five guys on the ice circled the net and it led to multiple chances out in front.

The goal was Bailey’s second of the year but more importantly, it was Matthew Barzal’s first NHL point and Andrew Ladd’s 500th NHL point.

Want your voice heard? Join the Eyes On Isles team!

Write for us!

It would have been nice to see the Isles keep the momentum going but the Kings regained control for the second half of the period. Jake Muzzin put the Kings back on top when he beat Halak glove side. Tanner Pearson had taken up real estate in Halak’s crease and I was shocked Weight didn’t challenge for goalie interference. On the shot, Halak was playing back in the net and had he been up and more shouldered there is no doubt it would have been goaltender interference.

None the less it was another rough goal for Halak and the Islanders found themselves trailing once again.

Faceoffs were a major issue through the first two periods. It didn’t matter which center was out there, the Kings were winning faceoff after faceoff and it led to a lot of time spent in the Islanders zone.

Late in the period, the Isles got their period power play of the night. Although it was better than anything against San Jose they came up shot once again. 0-20 to start the season. At this point, it feels like they need to just simplify things. Park Anders Lee in the front and get the puck to the net. They don’t see Barzal or Josh Ho-Sang circling the zone looking for the perfect pass. They have to score eventually…right?

More from NY Islanders News

Something From Nothing

The Islanders got another power play to open the third and it was the same story. Lost faceoffs led to easy clears for the Kings and when the Isles had the puck in the zone there was no movement. They try to force it to John Tavares and the Kings had him covered all night long. To top off the power play an Islanders turnover led the Kings on an 2 on 1 and Drew Doughty beat Halak to put the Kings up 3-1. Another deflating night for the special teams unit.

The game really opened up from there. With five minutes left in the game, Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas battled their way in the LA zone and made something out of nothing. Clutterbuck took a big hit and got the puck to Cizikas scored on a wraparound chance. The goal came when the Islanders looked ready to pack it in and head home. They still had a chance to get to overtime.

The offense though could not find the net again and never really had any chance to do so. The Islanders dropped the final game of the west coast swing 3-2.

At the end of the day, they just didn’t get the job done. The Kings are one of the better defensive teams in the league and the Islanders were not up to the challenge against a backup goaltender. The offense wasn’t bad but they didn’t play good enough to beat a good team. Game after game they need to generate more chances with all the time they spend in the opposing zone.

The Isles will now head home with a couple days off before taking on the Rangers Thursday at the Garden.

Next: New York Islanders Ho-Sang Improving Nelson's Game

The Isles will now head home with a couple days off before taking on the Rangers Thursday at the Garden.