It was the period from hell for Leo Komarov last night. In the third period, it’s become a running joke that you can expect a Leo Komarov stick foul. We were calling it the veteran leadership penalty two years ago for the Islanders, but it eventually turned into just a Komarov gimmick.
After Anthony Beauvillier went down with an injury on Sunday, it was assumed that the team would look to insert a player to go into the top-six. Well, not exactly.
The Islanders elected to stick with Ross Johnston on line three, a conversation for another day at this point, Kieffer Bellows came back in and went into Beau’s spot (kind of), and then Leo Komarov made his debut.
There wasn’t much to note from the first two periods, but the third period was a complete disaster in every sense of the word. At 10:59 Leo Komarov took this awful boarding penalty against Lars Eller:
We’re used to lame offensive zone stick fouls from Leo, but this boarding call that turned into a five-minute major was a wrinkle that I wasn’t ready for, nor do I ever want to see again. Somehow, the Islanders killed the penalty and only allowed one shot on goal.
The irony of it all? Leo Komarov’s lone purpose in the lineup is to be a penalty killer. With four minutes left in the game, you’d figure that Komarov’s night would be done after a mistake like that, right?
A team that preaches accountability couldn’t possibly put him back out there after a mistake like that. Well, Komarov got two shifts after that. One was 21 seconds after the penalty expired, and the final one came in the last 30 seconds.
In that final shift, Leo Komarov’s man did this:
Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. That’s inexcusable, Leo Komarov had no business being back out on the ice in the final minute of this game. None.
In his 11:17 of ice time, yes he took a five-minute major and still got more ice time than Kieffer Bellows who allegedly was on line two, he had one hit and one block. That’s it. Oh, he also played as much on the penalty kill as you and I last night.
The PK specialist, who cost his team the game by taking an awful penalty and then falling asleep with his defensive assignment played zero (0) seconds on the penalty kill.
How did we get here? How’s it possible that the Islanders can consistently give chance after chance to guys who do nothing but take silly penalties and maybe get three hits a night if they’re lucky.
The team has scored two goals or less in four of their six games, they have one even-strength goal from a forward not on the top-line. If this isn’t a wake-up call for the lineup construction, I fear that we’ll never see the necessary change from the coaching staff.
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I love Barry Trotz. I’m very, very happy that he is here. At the same time, I think it’s completely okay to admit that he’s made some mistakes with the lineup this year. Both of those things can be, and are, true.