The New York Islanders had a player’s only meeting after the 6-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday. After three awful losses, the team needed to get on the same page and get back to what has made them so successful over the last two years.
They’d have an OK chance of doing so against a Philly side that was missing their top two centers in Sean Couturier (injury) and Travis Konecny (healthy scratch). They’d also face Cater Hart who’s in a bit of poor form.
The Islanders just haven’t looked like themselves over the last three outings. They’re being outworked and giving up a ton of bad opportunities in the d-zone. The Islanders need to flip both of those habits in order to get back to successful ways.
Two down, two up for the New York Islanders
Within four minutes Jakub Voracek simply walks through the Islanders defense and scores on an easy give-and-go with Claude Giroux. In case you were wondering that was the exact type of play the Isles player meeting was hoping to eliminate.
Ten minutes later the Isles were guilty of allowing another goal against in what seemed like essentially the same play, this time Kevin Hayes converted. Again, this was the type of stuff the players-only meeting was supposed to eliminate.
With two goals against through 20, the Islanders had allowed eight unanswered goals over their last three periods. Something needed to change.
Although it’s not like Barry Trotz could do much about it. The only cards he could play are: (1) go wild in the dressing room to get his point across and (2) switch the lines around. I’m sure he did the former, and I know he did the latter. He switched Eberle and Bailey and kept the bottom six intact.
On that bottom six, they looked great. The fourth line did what they usually do with the forecheck, and the third line kept up the good work they’ve shown in game one. In 5:24 of 5on5 time, the Bellows-Pageau-Wahlstrom line held an incredible 90.52 xGF% today.
The Following 40
In the following 40, the Islanders put up 21 shots on Carter Hart as the Flyers mustered only eight on Semyon Varlamov. They held a 71.7% xGF at 5on5 through the final two frames as they fought back on the score sheet.
Four minutes later Scott Mayfield would tie it up with a blast from the top of the faceoff circle thanks to some sustained zone time from the Isles makeshift top line of Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, and Josh Bailey.
(I hope Barry keeps Anders Lee on the same line as Josh Bailey, here’s an article as to why.)
All of that effort would give the Islanders a single point as Scott Laughton would bury a rather innocuous-looking play in overtime as Philly took the extra point. A point they didn’t deserve.
Scott Laughton (1OT GWG): He earned his team an extra point with a single play.
Barry Trotz: He tossed his lines into a blender and I think he accidentally tapped into something.
Jordan Eberle (1G): He was moved to the second line after the first, but he looked really good next to Nelson.
Player meetings: Do they actually work? Cause the Isles one didn’t.
Semyon Varlamov (3GA, 0.824SV%): He wasn’t at fault for the first two goals, but man he was far too aggressive on the OT goal.
Leo Komarov (what do you do here?): At fault for another goal isn’t a good look for the vet.