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New York Islanders

Islanders Flatline, Fall To Red Wings In Season’s Most Pivotal Game



AP Photo/Paul Sancya

When the New York Islanders faced the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena three weeks ago, they picked up a 5-3 win that was the second of a six-game winning streak that, at the time, helped revive their playoff chances.

But after falling 6-3 when they returned to Detroit on Thursday, the Islanders’ hopes of making the playoffs are on their last breath.

Mathematically, the Islanders are still alive, sitting five points back of the Red Wings for the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference with 13 games left to play this season. But after suffering their sixth loss straight loss, the Islanders seem to have one foot in the grave.

A game with all the tension of an elimination playoff matchup before the drop of the puck started as one would, with a lot of checking and very little room to maneuver on the ice.

It wasn’t until more than midway through the second period that things began to open up.

Detroit struck first after Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock turned over the puck at the attacking blue line, springing Christian Fischer on a breakaway. With subtle deke, Fischer tucked the puck through the legs of Ilya Sorokin for his fifth goal of the season.

Needing a quick response, the Islanders got one from Mike Reilly as he fired a shot from Michigan’s upper peninsula that slipped through Red Wings goalie James Reimer tying the score at one.

It was the kind of goal that the Islanders have struggled to get all season and one they failed to replicate against the Red Wings.

Just a little over two minutes after Andrew Copp put Detroit back in front, Dylan Larkin made it 3-1 Red Wings heading into the third period.

Detroit’s lead increased to three as Copp found his second goal of the evening at 5:12 of the third period. Patrick Kane made it a 5-1 game a minute and ten seconds later.

The Islanders closed the gap with a pair of goals from Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mathew Barzal, giving themselves one last gasp of hope down 5-3. Head coach Patrick Roy pulled Sorokin to the bench with more than five minutes remaining in the game. Despite several scoring chances while playing with an extra attacker, the Islanders couldn’t put another puck past Reimer.

Larkin scored his second goal of the night by hitting the empty net to burry the Islanders.

The Islanders return home to UBS Arena on Saturday afternoon against the Winnipeg Jets.




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