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Islanders: Three+ Takeaways After Coming Up Just Short vs. Philadelphia

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 27: Brock Nelson #29 of the New York Islanders skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Nassau Coliseum on February 27, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 27: Brock Nelson #29 of the New York Islanders skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Nassau Coliseum on February 27, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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New Yoek Islanders
New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13). Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders attempted a late comeback that fell just short on Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum. Here are three takeaways from the loss.

A small group of New York Islanders fans were welcomed back to Nassau Coliseum by one of the worst two periods the Islanders have had all season. The Islanders stunk it up out there through 45 minutes against the Philadelphia Flyers, but in the end, they were only a defensive miscue away from capturing at least a point.

Here are three takeaways from a mostly pitiful, ultimately disappointing 4-3 loss at the Coliseum.

1. Another Poor Islanders Second Period

The New York Islanders have been poor in second periods all throughout 2020-21, anyone who watches the team knows that. But Thursday was maybe the worst of a bad bunch of middle frames this season.

The Islanders spent most of that middle 20 hemmed in their own zone and conceded three goals in the frame because of it. In a game that had such a low-event first period, the Islanders simply couldn’t afford to give away another third of regulation, and they did.

“We dug ourselves a real big hole.” said head coach Barry Trotz in his post-game press conference. “I’m disappointed in our push in the second.”

He’s not wrong, obviously. Barry’s team conceded three goals in the period, but the underlying numbers were even worse than the score reflected. The Islanders were out-chanced 11-3, and 6-0 from the High-Danger areas, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Philadelphia’s 24 total 5v5 shot attempts, and 17 unblocked 5v5 attempts were two of the highest marks the Islanders have given away in any period this season in that game state. These aren’t analytics, folks, they’re just shot attempts, and when shot attempts pile up the way they did in this period it’s a pretty good predictor of goals. That’s why I like to look at these numbers, for those curious.

But what is the fix? That’s the important question in my mind, and one I haven’t heard asked of Trotz yet this season. Being outplayed in middle frames this often is no coincidence. So what’s being done to rectify that? Why is this team so consistently being inconsistent throughout games? Why do they keep going to sleep in second periods, independent of first and third-period results?

It’s a question that needs answers fast. We know the talent this team possesses, and have seen it regularly enough to know they’re too good to just let periods slip away. They did it on Thursday, scratching and clawing back like absolute savages to tie a game that looked all but lost. In the end,  that hole Barry mentioned was too deep, and it cost the Islanders at least one valuable point.

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