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Islanders Locker Room Reaction: Guilt Stems From Blown Lead In OT Loss To Detroit



AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Elmont, NY– The New York Islanders held a two-goal lead at the start of the third period against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night.

It felt especially comfortable after the Islanders had momentum in their favor with Casey Cizikas’ short-handed goal and Ilya Sorokin on his way to his second shutout performance of the season.

But in just under four minutes, the Islanders reverted and allowed Detroit to steal the lead with goals from Daniel Sprong, Jake Walman and J.T. Compher.

Even after Bo Horvat tied the game on the power play late in the third, his turnover led to Lucas Raymond’s game-winning goal for Detroit at 1:25 into overtime.

In the locker room postgame, the Islanders shared a sense of collective guilt, knowing how close they were to their second straight shutout victory.

“I feel the worst for [Sorokin],” Cizikas said. “He stands on his head every single night. He gives us a chance to win every single night, and we let him down in the third period.”

Even in overtime, Sorokin refused to go away quietly as he made what was at the time a game-saving stop on a point-blank chance from Detroit’s Alex DeBrincat.

However, there was nothing Sorokin could do to get in the way of Raymond’s overtime winner.

Horvat’s turnover at the Islanders’ blue line led to an odd 2-on-1 situation for Raymond and Compher that neither Sorokin nor Noah Dobson could stop.

“That last one is on me,” Horvat said. “It just blew up on me, and I couldn’t get a hold of it.”

“I kind of lost my footing a little bit,” Dobson said. “Obviously, they made a nice play. I just got to try and do a better job playing that.”

Turnovers were ultimately the deciding factor in the game, as the Islanders coughed up the puck 11 times to the Red Wings. The defensive mishap spoiled what were otherwise solid games from both Horvat and Dobson.

It was Dobson’s blast from the point early in the third period that was deflected in by Brock Nelson to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead. Without Horvat’s power-play goal with four minutes remaining in regulation, the Islanders would’ve walked away without a point altogether.

But the one point the Islanders salvaged should’ve been two that they easily secured. The Islanders held the edge through the first 40 minutes and change of the contest, but it disappeared as Detroit mounted its comeback in the third.

“When we have a two-nothing lead, there’s a certain way our team has to play,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “In order to have success, we got to keep pushing the puck north. When we get away from that and deviate from that,  it’s not a recipe for success, and that’s what happened.”

The loss drops the Islanders record to 4-2-2, as they remain winless in games that go the extra mile.

“We haven’t had a lot of it, but the three-on-three is a special situation,” Lambert said. “It’s man on man. You have to stay with your man. Certainly, just like anything else, you can’t turn the puck over.”

The rest of the Islanders’ week runs through the Metropolitan Division. On  Thursday, they play the Capitals in Washington, D.C., before returning home Saturday night to face the Carolina Hurricanes.