The Upshot: The NY Islanders Put up a Fight but Can't Produce in 4-1 Loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning

New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages


In another must-win game, the NY Islanders fell 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite the score, the Isles put up a good fight, and played well defensively to keep the Lightnings offense at bay. They continue to let in consecutive goals, preventing any chance of a comeback. Semyon Varlamov played a strong game for the Isles, earning his spot in the starters net. He stopped 36/40 shots he faced tonight.

The Islanders struck first on the night. Kyle Palmieri stays hot for the Isles, scoring just two minutes into the first period, deflecting a Ryan Pulock shot expertly into the back of the net. With the secondary assist on Palmieri's goal, Mike Riley has hit 100 career NHL assists. Adam Pelech took a tripping call against Steven Stamkos, and the Lightning capitalized on the man advantage. With the number 1 power play in the league, Darren Raddysh scored his 6th goal of the season but his first on the power play. 35 seconds later, Anthony Cirelli scored again for the Lightning with the game winning goal. After a scoreless second period that saw chances on both ends of the ice, the Isles started playing with a bit more grit during the third period. After tipping his 30th goal of the season past Varlamov, Stamkos' goal was under review for high sticking but was ultimately called a good goal. With three minutes left to play, the Isles goal was empty and Cirelli scored his second goal of the night into the empty net. Some drama ensued with minutes left to play, with Matt Dumba going to the box for roughing with a minute left in the game. Matt Martin and Emil Lilliberg both took slashing penalties at the final whistle.


The Islanders have struggled with second periods recently, losing games because of their lazy play during the middle 20 minutes. However, tonight seemed to turn things around. The second period seemed to be the Islanders' best period of the game. They had 15 shots on goal during the second period, which was more than their total for the first and third periods. Brock Nelson and Palmieri have been playing their best hockey lately, and with the two back together and Pierre Engvall on the wing, Nelson had the most chances he's had recently.

Varlamov Played an amazing game, and kept the Islanders in the game tonight. In his post-game conference, head coach Patrick Roy noted, "I hope Varly feels good about himself. I'd be pissed that we lost. But I mean, he knows he played a strong game. He gave us a chance and, as a goalie, that's the mindset you have. You want to give your team a chance to win."

The Lightning have the best power play in the league at 28.9%, while the Islanders' penalty kill is, well not so great, at 72.1% putting them at 32nd in the league. With the special teams matchup of the century, the Islanders did the smartest thing they could possibly to and stayed out of the box. The Pelech penalty was a weird one, with both he and Stamkos going down and Pelech even feeling a bit of a sting after the fall. Staying out of the box was priority number one for a team that tends to not be the most disciplined, and they did an amazing job with that tonight.


The Islanders' struggles continue to be mental. They are in this rut that they just can't seem to get out of, and it doesn't seem like there's anything left for Roy to do or say to help. The running trend seems to be letting the momentum get knocked out of them the second the opposition scores a goal. There's no bounce back or fight after an opponents goal, and instead the Isles deflate and play unwilled hockey, which allowed the opposition to get another goal quickly just like we saw tonight.

Roy need to focus on solidifying the Islanders lineup with what he has to finish out the season. The second line of Anders Lee, Matt Barzal and Hudson Fasching worked for a little bit, but tonight proved the hole's in Roy's plan. It was obvious Bo Horvat was uncomfortable playing on the wing on the top line, and its time to reconnect 1314. The two tend to play better together and the lineup should be worked around the two with Horvat back at center.


Mike Riley hit 100 assists in 391 career NHL games with his secondary assist on Kyle Palmieri's goal


Running into each other again?? Who else would this happen to but the Islanders


The Islanders will take on the Philadelphia Flyers on April Fools Day. Puck drop will be at 7pm EST at Wells Fargo Center.