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3 Takeaways: Ugly Loss Ends New York Islanders 13-Game Road Trip

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New York Islanders

The New York Islanders ended their 13-game road trip on Tuesday night with an ugly 6-1 loss to the Florida Panthers. Kyle Palmieri scored the only Isles goal of the night and Barry Trotz elected to pull Ilya Sorokin after the first period.

It sent the Islanders back to Long Island with a 5-6-2 record through their first 13 games and they’re now heading into their home opener at UBS Arena on a four-game skid. The Islanders will now have three days in between before they play the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

Here are three takeaways from Tuesday’s loss.

Brutal First Period

Describing the first by the Islanders as bad wouldn’t have been a strong enough adjective, because it was one of the roughest periods of hockey the New York Islanders have played in some time. The Islanders looked a step behind Florida and allowed them to run the table through the opening frame. New York didn’t score the first goal like they had the previous night to a least get a little jolt in the beginning and watched Jonathan Huberdeau find the back of the net 6:58 into the game.

Florida piled on three more goals before the end of the period came to an end. It was the second four goal period the Islanders have allowed in their last four games.

“I thought we really sagged once they scored the first goal,” Trotz said. “I didn’t feel like we were under too much duress, but we sagged. That’s part of being a little bit fragile. I haven’t said that too often. We were squeezing it. Some of the mistakes that we’re making, they’re on us. We’re playing almost good hockey and really bad hockey.”

The Islanders were outshot in the first 20 minutes 17-12. They finished the first down in scoring chancs 13-9, with six of those being considered high danger, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Mistakes Keep Coming

The New York Islanders miscues have continued to hurt them during their current four game skid and Tuesday was no different. The Islanders looked disconnected and bad decision making cost the Islanders yet again.

The game’s first goal occured after the Islanders turned the puck over during a change and then got caught flat footed as Florida attacked into the offensive zone. The second goal against wasn’t much better as the Isles’ top line got hemmed in their own zone and then after Ilya Sorokin made an intial stop a shot, no one picked up Ryan Lomberg who scored the rebound goal.

The Islanders had 14 giveaways on Tuesday night, seven of which came in the first period.

“We’re definitely upset with our play, we take a lot of pride in who we are how we play,” Casey Cizikas said. “It’s not easy, but we’ll be upset about this tonight, get home, get the body ready for that home opener. It’s time for us to pick it up and play our game, four lines, six D, two goalies and come out hard. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this, playing hard.

“It’s up to us, we can’t rely on anyone else to help us, it’s on us.”

Method to the Madness: Islanders Barry Trotz Explains Approach with Slumping Players

The Islanders Seemed to be Missing Something

The New York Islanders were without Ryan Pulock and Josh Bailey, who were sidelined because of an injury and COVID protocol repsectively, but they seemed even further from the team that everyone had expected them to be. The Islanders have always been a team know  for its strong play on the back end and quick transition game.

That just wasn’t there on Tuesday. The Islanders defense, which would also find itself without Scott Mayfield because of a knee-on-knee hit that got him a game misconduct, struggled to position itself well and make smart decisions with the puck.

The Islanders also looked gassed for most of the game. There was no better example than the third goal against by Carter Verhaeghe.

Florida quickly transitioned out of the Islanders zone and got the puck to Varhaeghe, who blew past Adam Pelech to get a shot on goal. After Sorokin made the initial save no one corralled the rebound and Varhaeghe uncontested was able to push it past the goaltender.

A common talking point during the ESPN broadcast had been that the Islanders were looking past Tuesday’s game and just wanted to get home. It’s hard to imagine that was the case with the Barry Trotz led team, and especially since the issues on Tuesday mirrored ones that had been already plaguing the Islanders before the loss in Sunrise.

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