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Islanders Coming Home Empty-Handed Following OT Loss To Blackhawks



AP Photo/Matt Marton

Of all the games on this road trip, this was the one the New York Islanders should’ve had.

Of all the games on this road trip, this is the one the New York Islanders needed to have.

But after Seth Jones scored the winning goal in overtime for the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night, the Islanders will return from their trip with the equivalent of pocket lint, gaining one measly point out of a possible eight after falling 4-3 at United Center.

“At the end of the day, it wasn’t a very good trip for us,” Bo Horvat said to reporters in Chicago. “There were parts of it we played good hockey, but at the end of the day, we got to figure out ways to get wins, and we just didn’t do it.”

The lowly Blackhawks were presented on a silver platter. Shut out on the road the night before, they played in the second half of a back-to-back without several key pieces, including rookie phenom Connor Bedard.

And yet, the Islanders found a way to drop their meal on the floor.

The young Blackhawks played like they had nothing left to lose–mostly because they didn’t–by hitting the Islanders in the mouth from the jump.

Through the first six minutes and change of the game, they outshot the Islanders 7-0. But with a quick snapshot, Brock Nelson scored on the Islanders’ first shot on goal. With assists by Hudson Fasching and Kyle Palmieri, Nelson’s team-leading 20th goal of the season came by way of a  textbook breakout from the Islanders out of their defensive zone.

But even then, it never felt as if the Islanders were in control. It certainly didn’t appear that the Blackhawks thought that was the case.

Throughout the second period, the Islanders tried everything they could to put an insurance goal past Petr Mrazek, but one never came.

Boris Katchouck knotted the score at 18:07 of the period. Ilya Sorokin stalled Katchouk’s initial breakaway chance as he got in behind the Islanders’ defense, only for him to circle back around and rip a shot from the high slot. A little more than a minute later, Joey Anderson put the Hawks ahead as he connected with Colin Blackwell to capitalize on an odd-man rush.

“Careless play,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “It was a bad change on the first goal. He probably should have scored on the breakaway, except our goalie saved us, and then just really a lack of respect for the way the game should be played. Some bad reads, some bad decisions to pinch, and the odd man rushes hurt us. It’s unacceptable.”

Anderson helped push Chicago’s lead to 3-1 as he set up Jason Dickinson off another rush early in the third.

From there, the Islanders began to clamp down. With goals from Horvat and Palmieri, they had a commanding 11-3 shot advantage in the period and held Chicago without one for the final 14:28 of the frame.

Their next one didn’t come until 21 seconds into overtime when Jones put one past Sorokin to win the game. In his eighth straight start and 13th straight appearance, Sorokin made 20 saves on 24 shots.

Friday’s game was the first for center Kyle MacLean. He played 10:21 but wasn’t provided with the best example by the Islanders in his NHL debut.

“I don’t feel the team is anywhere near where it can be or should be,” Lambert said. “We have some players on the team that we clearly need more from.”

Of all the games on this road trip, this is the one the New York Islanders needed to have.

Of all the games on this road trip, this is the one the New York Islanders should’ve had.




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