For a second the New York Islanders looked like they’d at least gain a point in what was an improbable comeback.
Down three after an abysmal 40 minutes, they found a way to tie it up in the final minutes of the third period.
But then a faceoff loss and Oskar Lindblom happened the the Philadelphia Flyers skated to a 4-3 win and ended the Islanders’ home point streak.
For a while it looked like this article would only have checks on the minus side, but we’ll take a look at the good and bad about this Thursday night affair at Nassau Coliseum.
The first two periods
After their nine-game winning streak ended in Washington, the Islanders didn’t put up much of a fight against a Philadelphia team that has been reeling and lost 9-0 Wednesday to the New York Rangers.
If you didn’t know it, it looked like the Islanders were the ones that had just come off a historically demoralizing loss. The second period was particularly bad, where Philadelphia scored three times.
“I can’t give you a logical explanation for that at all,” Barry Trotz said of the first two periods. “We didn’t execute, we didn’t win very many battles and we dug ourselves a really big hole. Why? I have no idea. … I’m not going to have any excuses. I’m just disappointed.”
Worse, the Islanders had little pushback and generated only nine total chances at 5-on-5 and 10 overall at all strengths. It was one of the worst periods they’ve played this season and undoubtedly cost them this game.
The final goal
The Islanders did all of the legwork in the third period to tie the game up and then lost it all in a flash.
Scott Mayfield made a poor play with the puck to ice it with just a tick over 2:30 left to go in the period. It set up a faceoff in the defensive zone and as Philadelphia cycled the puck, Lindblom got in the slot and ripped a one-timer past a screened Semyon Varlamov.
“We shoot ourselves in the foot in the last couple of minutes of the game,” Trotz said. “They’re looking to change, they’re just sitting in the neutral zone. We force a play, get an icing call and then we lose a faceoff and were light in the D zone.”
Oskar Lindblom with the one-timer to put the Flyers back up and stave off the Islanders' pressure, what a BEAST pic.twitter.com/TmyZF2hz3z
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 19, 2021
Any mistake at that stage of the game is magnified, but the icing there was a backbreaker that led to the goal that denied the Islanders at least a point.
Another streak ends
Having not lost in regulation on home ice into the season, the Islanders had a good thing going in Uniondale. Adding in season ticket holders for the first time in over a year, it could have been an extra memorable game.
But a disappointing early stretch and a heartbreaking finish ended another streak for the Islanders. They’ll get a chance for redemption Saturday night.
“The fans were great, we didn’t give them anything to get excited about in the first and second period,” Trotz said. “I’m just disappointed we left a point on the table.”
There was a great pushback from the Islanders in the third period and they deservedly got those three goals. Michael Dal Colle notched his first of the year, as did Sebastian Aho. Definitely two candidates who you likely wouldn’t have ever picked to score back-to-back goals.
Less than a minute after the Aho goal, Oliver Wahlstrom crept near the net on the weakside and finished a beautiful cross-ice feed from Nick Leddy. It was the Isles’ best period of the night by far as they dominated puck possession and produced their only five high danger chances at 5-on-5 of the game.
Leddy continues to shine
Leddy was an offensive force, recording an assist on all three goals. It is reminiscent of his first three-to-four seasons in New York where he was a regular contributor offensively. As it stands, he leads the entire team with 20 assists and is only behind Mathew Barzal in points with 21.
— NHL (@NHL) March 19, 2021
The 21 points match his entire total from last season, which is an encouraging sign for the Islanders. With Noah Dobson out and the Islanders continually shuffling their forward lines with the Anders Lee injury, they’ll take points from where they can get it right now.