Cal Clutterbuck was almost a hero for the Islanders last night, until he wasn’t. In one of the most frustrating games in my Islanders memory, the Isles lost 5-4 after giving up a goal less than three minutes after tying up the game three times.
For a team that prides itself on defense and structure, they were playing recklessly last night and it cost them. A perfect example of that is the give and take the Islanders got from Cal Clutterbuck.
The Isles entered the third period trailing by two goals. Naturally, Barry Trotz put out the fourth line to get the momentum back, and initially, it worked. They were buzzing and it led to this Cal Clutterbuck goal.
It got the Isles right back in the game with over 16 minutes remaining. They had time. But, it wasn’t that perfect night for Cal. After Anthony Beauvillier would tie up the game on the power play, Clutterbuck would take a penalty not even 30 seconds later.
It was an unnecessary interference on goalie Tristan Jarry. The Pens would go on the power play and for the second time in the game, Jeff Carter scored. From hero to goat in a matter of minutes.
So yes, if you’re watching the box score you see two goals from a fourth liner and you’d think he had a good night. And he kind of did to be honest with you, except for a minor lapse in judgement that led to a goal against.
That was the epitome of the Islanders last night. There were good moments, but too often they were unable to stop themselves from the catastrophic mistake.
With Game 4 a must-win, the Isles have to clean up their act. They can’t continue to make the same mistakes and expect to win against this Penguins team, they’re just too good.