Times have been tough for the NY Islanders and their fans, watching the team blow countless third-period leads and forgetting what winning games is like. Last night was no different against the Vancouver Canucks, losing 4-3 in overtime after holding a 3-1 lead around the halfway mark. One positive from this game is that it included two power-play goals for New York, courtesy of Pierre Engvall and Brock Nelson. The problem is that the Vancouver power play outshined the Islanders' still, with all three goals scored in regulation for them coming on the man advantage. Bo Horvat scored the Isles' third goal in an emotional return against his former team, but after that, Quinn Hughes took over. Hughes contributed to the next three Canuck goals and scored the game-winner in overtime on a breakaway due to Adam Pelech being caught puck-watching. Ilya Sorokin was again left out to dry, making 39 saves on 43 shots. Islanders fans are getting impatient to see some change, and rightfully so, because right now it does not feel like this six-game losing streak will soon be snapped.
Luckily for the Isles, the Seattle Kraken have not been so hot lately themselves. Seattle has lost five of their last six games, with their last one coming against the resurged Edmonton Oilers. In an eerily similar scenario to the Islanders, the Kraken led their opponent 3-1 heading into the third before losing 4-3 in overtime. Evander Kane scored three unanswered goals including the OT winner to propel the Oilers to victory. Jared McCann, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and Alexander Wennberg all scored for the Kraken in the loss, while Joey Daccord stopped 27 of the 31 shots he faced. Considering the scenarios at play, this game is a must-win for both teams and whoever loses may drop even more hope for their rest-of-season outlook.
With Seattle only being in the NHL for two complete seasons now, these teams have only played each other four times ever. The Isles and Kraken are 2-2 against one another, with each registering a shutout in one of their wins. Last season, the away team took both matchups, while in 2021-22 the home team won both contests. In their last meeting, the Isles skated to a 5-2 win in Seattle led by Zach Parise's two goals and one helper. Kyle Palmieri, Casey Cizikas, and Nelson also scored in the victory while Sorokin made 23 saves on 25 shots. Yanni Gourde and Riley Sheahan scored for Seattle after the Islanders already built a 4-0 lead.
Players to watch
The Islanders have had so few players truly stand out on offense this season, and luckily considering the contract he signed, Mat Barzal is one of them. Barzal is second on the team in points this season with 12 in 15 games, only behind defenseman Noah Dobson with 13. The British Columbia native had two assists against the Canucks last night, including a "Vancouver-to-Vancouver" connection when he assisted Horvat's goal. Barzal was also the only New York player to score against Edmonton the game before, and he scored that goal moments into the game. Barzal has been noticeable every game this season and has not turned the puck over nearly as much as he has in the past. If you are an Isles fan, even if he was giving the puck away more than others, he still is a much more effective playmaker than anyone else on this team with his speed, skill, and consistency.
Amazingly enough, former Islander Jordan Eberle returned to the Kraken lineup last night against the Oilers after getting his leg cut by a skate blade during practice not even a week before coming back. Eberle has not had a strong season by any means so far, with one goal and five assists in 14 games played, but he has two assists in his last two games and seemingly has not missed a beat even with the cut on his leg. His return and likely motivational matchup against the team that left him unprotected in the expansion draft could spark the Kraken to get out of their slump, so the Islanders will have to check their former teammate tightly.
Mat Barzal - Bo Horvat - Simon Holmstrom
Pierre Engvall - Brock Nelson - Kyle Palmieri
Anders Lee - JG Pageau - Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech - Noah Dobson
Alexander Romanov - Ryan Pulock
Sebastian Aho - Scott Mayfield
Jared McCann - Matty Beniers - Jordan Eberle
Jaden Schwartz - Alexander Wennberg - Brandon Tanev
Eeli Tolvanen - Yanni Gourde - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Tye Kartye - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Kailer Yamamoto
Vince Dunn - Adam Larsson
Jamie Oleksiak - Will Borgen
Brian Dumoulin - Justin Schultz