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Islanders Game 2 loss to Lightning down to poor execution (highlights)

Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders allows a goal (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders allows a goal (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Welp. That sucked. The New York Islanders lose Game 2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1.

The New York Islanders needed to answer for that awful loss in Game 1. The Tampa Bay Lightning were a good team, but they weren’t 8-2 good. Game 2 was supposed to be about redemption for the Isles. And while the Islanders had a better showing they still lost thanks to some poor execution.

Losing 2-1 in Game 2 was clearly better than losing 8-2, but it’s the way the Isles lost that leaves a sour taste in the mouth. The Isles were the better team. The Isles had chances, but yet they still lost.

Game 2 lineup changes for Isles

Andrew Ladd and Leo Komarov got the nod over Derick Brassard and Ross Johnston. Johnny Boychuk took warmups but was not on the game day-20 for the blue and orange.

In net, Barry Trotz decided to go with Semyon Varlamov who has played so well through most of the playoffs but had seen his performances slip against Philly and certainly wasn’t very effective in relief in Game 1. The coach was clearly giving him a chance to get back to form.

What Could Have Been

After that embarrassing 8-2 loss in Game 1, the Islanders needed an answer in Game 2. They needed to come out and show they weren’t going to be walked over so easily a second time.

Cue

Nick Leddy

, who’s been fairly invisible in the entire postseason. The veteran D-man takes the puck deep into the Lightning zone and finds

Matt Martin

in the slot who tips an attempt over Andrei Vasilevskiy to get on the board first.

Minutes later, Alex Killorn takes a late run at

Brock Nelson

and drills him high and from behind. A play that resulted in a five-minute major and a game misconduct penalty for the Lightning forward.

The Isles got five shots off on that five-minute major but had nothing to show for it when it expired. Barry Trotz often talks about taking advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves. A five-minute major after going up 1-0 was the perfect opportunity to take a statement lead in the game. And they failed.

The Islanders deserved to leave the opening period with the lead, but a trio of mistakes from Devon Toews, to the linesman, to Semyon Varlamov resulted in the Tampa Bay Lightning getting the tieing goal through Victor Hedman.

Short Bench

I, like you, spent most of the second period trying to work out who was or was not on the bench for each team. With no scoring in the period, there was a lot of time to focus on this.

Alex Killorn was no longer on the bench for Tampa and Brayden Point – who had five points in Game 1 – was floating between the bench and the dressing room throughout the second frame. With eleven forwards dressed, that meant Tampa’s bench was effectively down to nine forwards.

The Islanders could not make Tampa pay for that disadvantage.

They couldn’t even make them ‘pay’ for two cheap shots on Brock Nelson. The Isles couldn’t convert on that five-minute major from Alex Killorn’s hit on Nelson and then Blake Coleman escaped a penalty and “having to answer the bell” as the hockey cliché goes for cross-checking Nelson’s head into the glass from behind.

At least the Islanders were up 20-10 in shots over the Lightning through two.

Just Shoot

Chances. The Islanders had a number of chances in the third period to get the game-breaking goal. The best chance came with 1:47 left in the period. It was the perfect time to score and put the game to bed. Here’s a screenshot of that play.

With the skater in the slot, no defenseman on him, Devon Toews elects to pass, yes, pass, the puck to Mathew Barzal who is in fact covered. Why?

The play gets broken up and heads back the Islanders way and Nikita Kucherov buries the winner with 7.8 seconds left. Just shoot Devon, shoot!

Through 60 the Islanders went 0/4 on the power play including a five-minute major and 38 seconds of a 5on3 and the Lightning had nine skaters for most of the game. And yet, the Islanders still lost the game 2-1.

When you break down the Islanders game one thing is clear: they lost because of poor execution. They had one bad icing that resulted in a goal against, they failed on multiple power plays, and simple time management would have pushed them to OT.

I guess it’s better than an 8-2 loss, but this loss still stung. Not only because there was soo many self-inflicted wounds, but because the Islanders were the better team and had nothing to show for it.

Three Winners

Andrei Vasilevskiy: 27 saves, 0.964SV%
Nikita Kucherov: 1GWG
Matt Martin: 1G

Three Losers

Devon Toews: 1 bad decision not to shoot, 1 bad icing
Alex Killorn: 15 PIM, Goon
Barclay Goodrow: lucky he got to play tonight

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