Another familiar storyline for the New York Islanders. A strong first two periods, too many shots given up and a third period defensive breakdown leading to a blown lead. And another frustrating loss in overtime.
The New York Islanders didn’t dominate the first two periods, but they played their game and the results were promising. Early in the game they looked sharper with a bit more jump in the energy and connecting on more passes than last game.
The start of the game is the Islanders game that most hoped for. No mistakes, positional play, toughness and some quick injections of offense. They won’t make it easy, but also not very exciting. But another 74 games like the first two periods and the Islanders may find their way into the playoffs.
Unfortunately it didn’t last all 60 minutes.
Third Period Meltdown
The Isles started the scoring with a goal off of a Panthers player, credited to Brock Nelson after a terrible giveaway in front of the net to Josh Bailey, who made a very Josh Bailey-like play to find Nelson for the shot that pinballed its way in.
The rush started with a strong zone entry by Lee and the Lee-Nelson-Bailey line looked sharp in this game.
The Islanders second goal was Jordan Eberle’s first of the season on a textbook puck-moving powerplay from Anders Lee and Mat Barzal.
And then the third period happened. The achilles heal for the Islanders for several years now.
First, the Panthers scored a powerplay goal after a soft slashing penalty on Andrew Ladd put them on the man advantage. The Frank Vatrano goal came on a broken play rebound that Lehner had no chance on. It was Lehner’s first goal allowed at Barclays.
About halfway through the third period the Panthers evened it up on an Evgenii Dadonov goal from point-blank range that barely squeezed through Lehner and trickled in.
After a big penalty kill on a Nick Leddy penalty, the Panthers got called for delay of game for trying to buy time before a faceoff, only to have the Islanders return the favor with a Mat Barzal interference penalty until the end of regulation.
If not for a slick glove save by Lehner with 15 seconds left, it wouldn’t have made it to overtime.
But starting overtime on the penalty kill proved too much for the Islanders as Mike Hoffman put the winning goal past Robin Lehner from the right faceoff circle to end a frustrating game that started exactly how the Islanders would have hoped.
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The Islanders salvage one point, but allow a struggling Panthers team and conference rival to gain points and confidence. The next game comes Saturday against the Flyers, and Barry Trotz will have just a few days to fix the third period issues.