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New York Islanders

Islanders Play Well, Penalty Kill Unable to Contain Bruins in 5-4 Shootout Loss

Unable to contain the Bruins power play, the Islanders lose to the Bruins in a shootout.



Islanders Play Well, Penalty Kill Unable to Contain Bruins in 5-4 Shootout Loss
(AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)

Who had a high-scoring tilt between the best two goaltending tandems in the NHL? There’s certainly no denying that the New York Islanders were on a heater coming into Friday night. They’re winners of four straight games dating back to last Thursday and have collected points in their last seven games. In Mike Reilly’s revenge game, the Isles played host to the Boston Bruins at UBS Arena. The B’s coming off a loss to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday visited Long Island with aspirations to get back into the win column.

The first frame went scoreless, although it was a fairly dominant effort by the Islanders. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Linus Ullmark, made 15 saves on 15 shots by the Isles. As a result, there was no score after 20 minutes.

If it wasn’t for Ullmark’s brilliance, the Isles could have walked out of the opening frame with a handful of goals. According to Natural Stat Trick, the blue and orange accrued an outstanding 60.00 CF% and dangerous 80.68% while on the positive side of a 14-9 scoring chance differential.

The Islanders were more fortunate in the middle frame.

After Bo Horvat won a faceoff in the offensive zone, Mathew Barzal fed Alexander Romanov with a brilliant no-look, behind-the-back pass. With ice in front of him, Romanov walked the puck to the top of the circle and wired the puck past Ullmark to give the Isles a 1-0 lead.

Just about 12 minutes later, the Islanders doubled their lead on the stick of Simon Holmstrom. The sophomore forward is in the midst of an unexpected breakout season. It’s certainly a welcomed surprise for the Isles.

The Bruins turned the puck over at the Islanders blueline and it sprung Holmstrom and J.G. Pageau for an odd-man rush the other way. With the puck on Pageau’s stick, the veteran center was patient in drawing the defender and dishing the puck to Holmstrom. On the breakaway opportunity, Holmstrom didn’t miss.

However, the lead was short-lived. The Isles took two penalties that really shouldn’t have happened. Julien Gauthier went to the box for tripping. After Morgan Geekie converted on the Bruins power play, Gauthier was forced to serve a too many men on the ice bench minor. David Pastrnak converted, and all of a sudden, the game was tied.

Five minutes into the third period, the Islanders went to a power play of their own. Coming into Friday’s contest, the Isles ranked ninth-best in the NHL converting on 20% of their chances this season. That has quite a bit to do with Horvat who had three goals and seven points on the man advantage this season. He was at it again on Friday. Some quick passing by Reilly and Brock Nelson led to No.29 finding Horvat alone in the slot. With Anders Lee causing chaos at the top of Ullmark’s crease, Horvat beat the B’s netminder stick side.

Back and forth the Isles and B’s go, however. With the Bruins back on the power play, James van Riemsdyk scored his sixth goal of the season.

The Bruins believed they scored previously. However, a review showed Brad Marchand push the puck across the blue line with his glove.

If you can believe it, the Islanders went back to the power play after the Bruins scored. Charlie Coyle hooked Nelson and sat in the box for two minutes. After drawing the penalty, Nelson made Coyle pay by scoring the game’s fifth power-play goal in a row. After all the penalties that neither team could kill off, the Islanders took a 4-3 lead.

Finally, a goal at even strength. However, it was Geekie’s second of the game and once again the Isles and B’s were tied at four each.

Time expired and to overtime the two teams went. Yet, before they could get there, Pastrnak took a late penalty for tripping Kyle Palmieri. The Isles started the overtime on a 4-on-3 advantage for 1:42. Time expired on the man advantage though and neither team could settle the score in overtime. This game required a shootout.

The shootout needed just three rounds. Despite Simon Holmstrom’s efforts to keep the Islanders alive in the shootout, Pastrnak’s shootout goal secured the extra point for the Bruins.

Ilya Sorokin made 29 saves through three-plus periods of play. Ullmark’s workload was a bit bigger as he was forced to stop 33 pucks.

The Islanders played well despite the loss. They now have points in their last eight games. The Isles face the Canadiens in Montreal tomorrow night.




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