HOW IT HAPPENED
When will it end?
Well, the answer is in regulation and on the wrong side of a 5-4 game for the NY Islanders. The Islanders led the New Jersey Devils 4-2 after the first 40 minutes but then unraveled. After Jack Hughes sniped one past Ilya Sorokin to cut their deficit to just one, the Isles took two costly penalties by Mat Barzal and Simon Holmstrom which turned an Islanders 5-on-4 advantage to a 4-on-3 disadvantage. Nico Hischier and the Devils capitalized on a tap-in to tie the game until Curtis Lazar scored off an unlucky bounce in the crease with about 23 seconds left in regulation. Yet another third period lead blow, but this time New York does not come away with any points against their division rival.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
The Islanders' offense certainly showed up during this contest, especially Barzal who had his most productive game of the season so far. He finished with one goal and two assists on the night, all of which were spectacular plays. JG Pageau at long last scored his first goal of the season with help from one of those assists, and Julien Gauthier also grabbed his first point of the season by assisting Cal Clutterbuck's goal. Bo Horvat scored the first goal of the game for New York on the power play, which didn't look too bad throughout the game. The Devils definitely did not play their best defensive game tonight, and Vitek Vanicek was pulled in the second frame for Akira Schmid due to his struggles in goal.
WHAT WENT WRONG
It's starting to feel like Groundhog Day for Islanders fans, as they melted down yet again in the third period. The penalties that ended up giving the Devils a 4-on-3 power play were careless stick infractions by both players and took any sort of momentum away from the Islanders. The Devils didn't play badly during the first two periods even though they trailed 4-2, but did not have any trouble at all kicking it into high gear once the third period came around.
"This one stings. This one stings bad."- HC Lane Lambert
The Islanders' defense was not there tonight, which definitely will continue to miss Adam Pelech for the time being. All of New Jersey's goals before the game-winner came when Sorokin was left in a bad position, whether it was a 2-on-1, a breakaway, the 4-on-3, or just leaving a top 10 player in the world wide open. While the game was tied at four, Anders Lee and Brendan Smith got into a fight with about two minutes left after Lee was hit high by Smith, which ended up not being a spark for the blue and orange despite an expressive and bloodied Lee hyping up the Isles' bench. Nevertheless, the Islanders let another crucial two points slip away and made this their 14th loss of the season in either regulation or extra time.
STATS OF THE GAME
According to TheHockeyNews' Stefen Rosner:
- The Isles remain winless against teams who made the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs (0-5-3).
- This was the ninth time the Islanders have either given up the game-winner in the third period or allowed the game to be tied and lost in overtime.
According to Eric Hornick in The Skinny:
- The Isles have been outscored 19-5 over the last twelve third periods. They have also been outscored 32-13 in the third period and overtime throughout the entire 2023-24 season.
- It was the first time the Isles lost a game in regulation when leading after two periods since April 29, 2022 (Barry Trotz's final game) vs Tampa Bay.
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
A bloodied, tongue hanging Anders Lee tries to fire up the Isles bench.
The Isles will continue their road trip in North Carolina on Thursday to take on the Metropolitan rival Carolina Hurricanes, who have won four of their last five games. Puck drop will be at 7:30 PM.