If NHL games were only two periods, the New York Islanders may very well be at the top of the standings. It’s the final 20 minutes, though, that continue to give them issues.
The Islanders have now lost five straight games after another miserable performance in the third period resulted in a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta on Monday night.
A major cause for the Islanders’ issues in the third has been taking bad penalties. Tied at one eight minutes into the period, Simon Holmstrom took a tripping penalty, pitting the Islanders’ 20th-ranked penalty kill against the Oilers’ 9th-ranked power play.
Nine seconds into the power play, Zach Hyman put Edmonton ahead after Ilya Sorokin lost track of the puck in the crease. A minute and a half later, Ryan Pulock inadvertently flipped a puck out of play in the defensive end, resulting in a delay of game penalty that Connor McDavid capitalized on.
Edmonton finished the game two for three on the man advantage. Meanwhile, the Islanders were held scoreless on three chances.
When the Islanders had a chance to get back into the game with a power play of their own late in the third, they allowed a shorthanded goal to Evander Kane while playing 6-on-4 with the goalie pulled.
With three goals allowed tonight, the Islanders have now been outscored 19-9 in the third period this season.
The loss is all the more disappointing, given how the game started for the Islanders.
Mathew Barzal opened the scoring 40 seconds into the opening frame with his third goal of the season off an assist from Bo Horvat. But as the period wore on, momentum swung more and more in the Oilers’ favor.
Leon Draisaitl caught the Islanders sleeping on a line change and evened the score at 14:17 into the first with a snapshot from inside the right faceoff dot that beat Sorokin on the blocker side.
Draisailt had four points in the game for Edmonton. Sorokin stopped 28 of 31 shots.
Stuart Skinner had a strong night in goal for the Oilers, making 32 saves on 33 shots. It was the first time this season he’s held a team under two goals after entering the game with a .864 save percentage.
The win for Edmonton was their first under Kris Knoblauch, who captured his first victory in his NHL coaching debut.
Next up for the Islanders: a date with the surging Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.