HOW IT HAPPENED
This game was a rollercoaster from start to finish, as the NY Islanders lost 4-3 to the Montreal Canadiens in heartbreaking fashion. The Isles went down 3-0 early in the game, with all three goals coming in the first period. Nick Suzuki and Sean Monahan each scored power-play goals, along with Cole Caufield at even strength. New York took their time responding to those three tallies, but the Islanders scored three power-play goals to tie the game at three with 3:32 left to go in the third. Bo Horvat scored in the second period, while Mat Barzal and Kyle Palmieri scored late in the final period. The comeback was short-lived, as 80 seconds later Monahan ripped his second of the night past Semyon Varlamov, largely due to Pierre Engvall creating a brutal turnover in the defensive zone.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
As stated above, the Isles power play was very effective against the Habs, going 3/8 on the night. All-Star snub Noah Dobson earned himself three more assists on the man advantage, while Horvat, Barzal, and Palmieri each had one goal and one assist. The resilience from the team was commendable as well, finding a way back after going down 3-0 on the road in a tough building to play in (especially for the Islanders record-wise), and after Adam Pelech took a cheap shot in the face from Brendan Gallagher's elbow, knocking him out of the game. They also peppered Sam Montembeault on the other end all game, taking 46 shots in total and firing at least 12 per period.
WHAT WENT WRONG
The blue and orange came out both flat and sloppy in the first period, and it cost them a large lead early. A brutal penalty from Hudson Fasching after he cleared the puck over the glass led right to Suzuki's power-play goal, and Palmieri negating the Isles' power-play later led to Monahan scoring when the Montreal penalty expired. Engvall will have many fingers pointed at him by fans due to two bad turnovers by him in the D-Zone leading straight to the Canadiens' goals, and it's hard to argue the criticism he is facing during a season with many blunders after signing a 7-year extension. Varlamov certainly was not at his best, but played well considering that he was recently activated from Injured Reserve and has not played since December 20th. The team in front of him left him out to dry in the first period, and while he probably should have stopped the final Monahan goal, it's hard to pin this loss on goaltending. The one thing the Isles' need to hope for is Pelech's health, who has not had it easy when it comes to injuries the past couple of seasons.
STATS OF THE GAME
- The Isles have only had six games in the past three seasons with at least 45 shots on goal, the most recent coming on Valentine's Day last year against the Ottawa Senators in a 3-2 loss. They are 2-4 in these six games.
- This was Noah Dobson's 5th game of his career with at least three assists, but the first where every one of them came on the man advantage.
- This game was the first time the Islanders scored at least three power-play goals in a single game since April 22, 2022, in a 5-1 win against the Washington Capitals.
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
During the Canadian national anthem, the video board in Montreal showed a video tribute to Isles' Head Coach Patrick Roy in a return to the Bell Centre.
The Islanders will travel back home to take on the red-hot Florida Panthers on Saturday night. Puck drop is at 7:30 PM.