The New York Islanders leave it late and fall 2-1 to the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, and that guy who used to play for us.
They could clinch a playoff spot with a win. They have three wins in their last ten games. And then they’ll be trying to make sure they don’t get embarrassed for a third time.
For the Islanders, it was yet another chance to rub their success and cohesiveness in the face of their former captain.
Unfortunately, the narrative wave coming out of Toronto proved to be too much.
It was a back and forth affair between both teams for the first 20 minutes. Neither team was taking too many risks, playing it pretty safe.
A penalty against Tom Kuhnhackl for holding John Tavares provided the only moments of tension and drama int he opening period.
After one, the shots were 16-12 for the Leafs and the score tied at 0-0.
Two minutes into the period defensemen Calle Rosen fired a wrister from the blue line to score his first career NHL goal. Of course, he did it against the Islanders.
Anyone and everyone looking to score their first career goal does it against the Islanders it seems.
The Islanders were given two back-to-back power play opportunities halfway through the second. And as you can probably guess, the Islanders whiffed on both.
We knew it was going to happen eventually, we just wished it hadn’t happened so soon. Thanks to a nice drop pass by Mitch Marner, John Tavares found himself one-on-one with Lehner and made no mistake for his 46th goal of the year.
But as the game was coming to a close, the Islanders started to ramp up the pressure. It resulted in a power play from an Auston Matthews hook on Jordan Eberle.
It was the Islanders fourth power play of the game. The first three were pitiful, the odds were that this one would be as well.
But Brock Nelson was able to smoothly collect a point shot from Devon Toews and reverse the puck out to Jordan Eberle who essentially had a tap in goal.
That was Eberle’s fifth goal and sixth point in five games. It’s clear to say that he’s heating up. And at the right time.
Unfortunately, the New York Islanders left it too late. Even after pulling Robin Lehner with a few minutes to spare, the Islanders couldn’t find a way back in.
After that comeback against the Jets and a dominating effort against the Buffalo Sabres, we hoped the Islanders could carry that into the game against the Leafs.
But the Leafs did a great job at keeping the New York Islanders to the outside and preventing them from gaining the slot. Something that’s happened too frequently to the Islanders of late.
On a positive note, the Washington Capitals lost to the Florida Panthers 5-3, so at least the Islanders didn’t lose any ground on first place.