HOW IT HAPPENED
The NY Islanders' two-game losing streak ends in a 5-4 defeat to the Nashville Predators on the second game of their four-game road trip. The Predators came out hot immediately, with Filip Forsberg opening the scoring just over one minute into the game. New York would tie the game a minute and a half later until Colton Sissons and former Islanders' top pick Nino Niederreiter killed the Isles' momentum with two quick goals before the ten-minute mark. Cal Clutterbuck scored late in the second to kickstart the Islanders' comeback attempt which was followed up by a Kyle Palmieri tally early in the third, making the score 5-3. J.G. Pageau scored on the power play to cut the Predators' lead to just one, but the Islanders would run out of time to complete the rally. Jusso Parssinen would score twice for Nashville, including the game-winner in the third. Ilya Sorokin played much better than the final score may dictate, making 26 saves on 31 Nashville shots in the loss.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Adam Pelech. This was certainly one of his best games of the season so far, and the defensive defenseman showed a lot on the other side of the puck. Pelech registered one goal and one assist, with his assist being a point shot redirected by Clutterbuck after further inspection. Pelech took matters into his own hands on that play, by just keeping the blue line, and with smooth skating was able to get that puck to the goal. Pelech also had four shots on goal as well as two blocks.
The Islanders did not get off to the best start against the Predators, but the fight was there again to force their opponents to play on their heels. After going down 3-1 not even halfway through the first period, they began to claw their way back into the game and looked like the better team for most of the third period. The goals by both Pageau and Palmieri proved once again that this team loves playing in the third period. Pageau's goal came on the power play, which has also started to be more consistent lately with three goals in their last two games.
WHAT WENT WRONG
The biggest reason the Islanders lost was due to their poor start. They may be comfortable having to chase an opposing team's lead, but sometimes they need to be the ones coming out strong. The goals allowed in the first period weren't "bad goals" per se to give up, with two coming off of redirections and the Forsberg goal off of what felt like the 5th rebound chance for the Predators. Nevertheless, letting up three goals ten minutes in should not happen, and chasing a huge hole that early is difficult even for a resilient team like the blue and orange.
The back-breaking moment of this game came with about 2:50 left in the third, when Mat Barzal took a high sticking penalty, effectively shortening the Islanders' window for error on the PK. They did play pretty aggressively, moving up the ice with urgency and setting up play as soon as Barzal hopped out of the box. However, with the Islanders being shorthanded for a full two minutes, it put them in a position to only get a few shot attempts in the 50 seconds they got to work with and could not get it done.
STATS OF THE GAME
- According to Eric Hornick in The Skinny, Barzal has 15 assists in the last 13 games; he is the first Islander in 38 years to have at least 19 assists in the first 18 games. Barzal is currently second in the league in assists, only one behind Nathan Mackinnon and also amazingly still has yet to score a goal this season.
- The Islanders lead the NHL with 30 third-period goals, and they have scored 31 goals in the 1st period, 2nd period, and overtime combined.
- The Isles allowed three goals in the first period for the first time this season and only the third time in the last three seasons.
- Kyle Palmieri scored his 6th goal of the season last night; last season he scored his 6th goal on March 1st against the Colorado Avalanche.
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
After Pageau scored to bring the Islanders within one goal of tying the game, the Isles on MSGSN Twitter account broke out a classic image from the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Pageau won the team's ping pong tournament in the bubble, and this picture is basically Islanders lore at this point.
The Islanders will look to bounce back in a meeting with the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Puck drop is at 8 PM.