After a passionate game against the Florida Panthers, the New York Islanders might have had nothing left for the Tampa Bay Lightning. And the Lightning made them pay.
The scoreline looks worse than the New York Islanders were. Sure, for much of the game they played second fiddle to the Tampa Bay Lightning. But it wasn’t entirely like that. For a portion of the game, the Islanders were well in the ascendency.
It started off terribly. For the first 20 minutes, the New York Islanders looked like they might still be in Sunrise as Tampa raced to a 2-0 lead. Leading one of our writers to predict a blowout in our EOI WhatsApp group.
None of us bit on the claim. There was still a ton of hockey left. And in the second period the New York Islanders, specifically Mathew Barzal, looked to prove our writer wrong.
Mathew Barzal. The Special One
The New York Islanders came out of the gates flying in the second period. It was exactly the type of response we and Doug Weight wanted from the players. And it was none other than Mathew Barzal getting it going with a goal and setting up a goal for Jordan Eberle just minutes later.
With those two plays, we all thought: “OK. We’re back in this thing”. And then the New York Islanders fell asleep across every position. Forwards. Defense. Goaltending. All were at fault for the incredible collapse that was about to happen.
In the final few minutes of the third, the Lightning would add three goals. Three. Two were copy-paste versions of this goal.
Add a bad Chris Kunitz goal and the Isles found themselves down 5-2 real quick. it was remarkable how quickly it happened. I understand that it’s the second game of a back-to-back, but the defensive coverage, the misreads, the overly aggressive goaltending, and the lack of puck carrier pressure by the forwards was inexcusable.
The New York Islanders stay on the road as they head to Pittsburgh and then Boston to close out the week. With breaks between both hopefully, they can avoid this type of performance before returning home on Monday against the Capitals.