We should forget about home-ice advantage in the playoffs. With a shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Islanders are unlikely to make up ground necessary to unseat either the Washington Capitals or Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Penguins won against the Flyers today which puts the Pens at the top of the division with 73 points. The Caps didn’t play but are three points clear with a game in hand on the Isles.
On paper, it looked like the Islanders played well. They had 48 shots on goal, 56% of the scoring chances, 58% of the high-danger chances, and held a commanding 63% xGF on the night. But that doesn’t tell the full story.
After going up by two goals thanks to a Cal Clutterbuck shorthanded effort, the Isles seemingly fell back on the type of effort that saw them lose yesterday. Two of the goals scored against the could have easily been avoided with some smart puck management from a team whose calling card is smart decisions with the puck.
There are some worrying signs right now for the Islanders who’ve had a very hard time picking up points against anyone not named the New York Rangers.
New York Islanders drop a two-goal lead yet again
Cal Clutterbuck (1G, 1A, 2SOG, 3 Hits): Great game by Cal Clutterbuck today. With all the breakaways today, Cal Clutterbuck was the only one to convert.
Anthony Beauvillier (1G, 7SOG): Beau continues to be red hot for the Islanders. With a goal tonight he now has six points (5G, 1A) in his last six games. Our streaky goal scorer is lighting it up just as the playoffs roll around. Perfect.
Ilya Sorokin (3GA, 28 Saves, 0.908SV%): That stat line doesn’t look great but honestly I don’t fault Sorokin here. In the second period specifically, Ilya Sorokin did well to preserve the Islanders lead.
Maybe he should have had more on that second Anders Bjork goal, but the other two goals he gave up tonight were either a lucky bounce or his team letting him out to dry.
Travis Zajac: The top-line center was really quiet tonight. Two shots and a single giveaway are all he had out there. Just not good enough from the veteran center and former New Jersey Devils.
Andy Greene: Not a good night from Andy Greene. He had the single lowest xGF for the Isles on the day with a 31.72%. The veteran D just seemed to be fighting it all game long. Probably could have used a rest like Barzal, Martin, and Leo.
Noah Dobson: Greene’s d-partner wasn’t much better out there. His 38.89 xGF% was the second-lowest for the Islanders today.