Sure, you can say there are going to be nights where the penalty kill is off, but on Friday night, the New York Islanders did something they hadn't done in nearly a decade - allowing four power-play goals in their 5-4 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils. The last time it had happened was on Mar. 1, 2014, also at home versus the Devils in a 6-1 loss at the Nassau Coliseum.
Nights like last night shouldn't happen. The Devils power-play has been prolific through four games (9-for-21) and is expected to be among the best in the league, but that doesn't excuse the lapses that allowed four goals - each one different in their own way.
“Everyone has the confidence and the trust of those guys,” Brock Nelson said after the game. “They're going to go out there, they work extremely hard, and they’re going to get the job done most nights. Some nights, it may not go your way and tonight was one of them.”
The Islanders couldn't point to one thing after the game that was wrong and attributed more to a talented Devils team capitalizing on every opportunity presented to them. The team was also down Scott Mayfield, one of their best penalty-killers, for the second consecutive game after he took a shot off his skate late in Tuesday's 1-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes.
“We made a couple of mistakes, which are going to happen,” defenseman Ryan Pulock said. “We made a couple of mistakes, and they ended up scoring on. I don't think it's something we need to make a big change on; it's just something we're going to look at and clean up a little bit.”
The Islanders will have a chance to clean it up in their first road game of the season later tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. The power-play has been the special teams unit drawing most of the attention and criticism, but that will quickly shift to the PK if Friday's uncharacteristically bad game becomes more of a trend than they believe it will be.