Last night a great hockey game.
It wouldn't matter if you were a casual fan or a die-hard; the New York Islanders' 5-4 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins was some of the most entertaining hockey you'll watch all season long. It had a bit of everything, from power-play goals to highlight reel saves to physicality and great individual skill.
It also had some controversy.
Late in the third period, as the Islanders desperately tried to protect a 4-3 lead, Boston's Morgan Geekie was battling with JG Pageau to the right of the crease when he fell to the ice and appeared to (quite clearly to Isles fans) stick out his leg, tripping Julien Gauthier.
That allowed defenseman Mason Lohrei to find the puck and shoot it off the back of Ilya Sorokin, who was away from the post and goal line. The goal with 3:09 left to play in regulation should never have happened. Sorokin can't be in that position with the puck in the corner, but the Islanders also felt it shouldn't have happened for another reason.
"I don't think there might have been a trip. It's very clear that there was a trip on that play, said head coach Lane Lambert defiantly after the game. There's no question it shouldn't have happened because it should've been a penalty."
Despite the no-call, the Islanders had their opportunities to win the game and still pick up two points. A late penalty on David Pastrnak gave them a 4-on-3 power-play to start overtime, but they failed to generate many chances and ultimately lost in a shootout for the third time this year.
“For 60 minutes I thought were the better team,” Bo Horvat said. “We played really well tonight, especially five and five, and it's unfortunate we let them back in it on the penalty kill, and that's what ultimately costs us.”
The Islanders were upbeat after the game despite the loss because they knew they did more than hang with the best team in the Eastern Conference. It was a fun hockey and one that was thoroughly enjoyable to watch, even if that included a game-changing no-call.