The New York Islanders were strong against the Los Angeles Kings in the first period. But two penalties early in the second period allowed the Kings to take complete control. While Zach Parise’s penalty to give the Kings a five-on-three which they scored one, was nothing out of the ordinary, a trip, it was Matt Martin’s unsportsmanlike penalty that changed the course of the game.
After a scrum in front of the Kings’ goal, Alexander Romanov and Rasmus Kupari headed to the penalty box. While they were en route, Martin threw Rasmus Kupari’s helmet to the penalty box door.
For that, Martin earned himself an unsportsmanlike penalty.
Clearly, Martin was not too fond of the call.
This is my new favorite video lol pic.twitter.com/jU3Z4eAHhP
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) March 15, 2023
After the game, we spoke with Martin and got more of an understanding as to why he was so livid during the scrum.
“Obviously, Romanov’s got a face shield on for a reason, and the guy punched him in the face, so I went in there, and I ended up with the extra,” Martin said. “I was really just throwing it over to the penalty box because I know people would be going there, and he would be one of them (penalty).
“But I didn’t really think anything. I wasn’t like showboating. I didn’t slam it. It was just kind of still in my hand after I don’t know how long, so I, yeah, I never got the explanation. So I don’t know what the call was.”
Regardless of the explanation, a 14-year veteran knows the rules, and he broke them, and his penalty, with Parise’s, changed the tide of the game.
“Definitely frustrating, for sure,” Martin said.
New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert understood Martin standing up for his teammate but also acknowledged that he needed to be a bit smarter in that situation.
“I saw him direct his helmet towards the penalty box. So the referees saw it one way, and that’s the way it went,” Lambert said.
When asked if Martin needs to be more disciplined: “I don’t think you can throw somebody’s helmet.”
Although the ensuing power-play goals took the wind out of the Islanders sails, the game wasn’t over with more than a period and a half to right their wrongs.
In his first game back after missing 12 games with an upper-body injury, Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored on a redirection and spoke to the media following the game about how he felt in his return.
Pageau decided to talk about his team first before his play.
“Obviously, sitting aside, you just see how much there’s no quit in this group, and I saw that again tonight,” Pageau said. “And obviously, we didn’t get the result we wanted. There’s no quit. Guys just go out and give their 110% of the day. That’s what I saw from up there. And I’m happy to be part of it now.”
Pageau played 13:39 minutes in his return, with one goal on three shots attempts and two hits. He struggled in the face-off dot, winning just four of 13 draws, 31 percent.
“I think personally I have to be better. But it’s just good to be back again,” Pageau said.
In the waning minutes of the second period, his goal cut the Islanders deficit to two goals as he deflected a Sebastian Aho point shot seconds after the Islanders’ power play expired.
— Isles on MSGSN (@IslesMSGN) March 15, 2023
“It’s good for the confidence, obviously,” Pageau said. “The first period, it doesn’t matter how hard you work. You’re always a little bit out of breath. But I found my legs better and better the game was going on.
“I think we have to turn the page. I’ll be ready for tomorrow.”
His head coach thought he had some rust.
“I thought he was okay,” Lambert said. “And I think he hasn’t taken a face-off for a while, so there’s a little, maybe a little rust from that standpoint, but I thought the chemistry was fine with him and Pierre (Engvall).”
As for Engvall, he scored his second goal in as many games, with Tuesday being the first time he and Pageau played together, alongside Hudson Fasching,
“I thought we started well. Then we started moving the lines a little bit (because of) penalties,” Pageau said. “But it’s good to get to know him as a player. We said before the game just to communicate a lot. I’m coming back. We don’t really know each other, and I thought he did a great job for me, telling you where he is on the ice, and with Fasching, I feel like we’ve always had good chemistry, so it’s definitely good players to play with.”
The New York Islanders now face an Anaheim Ducks team on Wednesday night that has lost four of their last six games and sits 29th in the NHL. Given the loss to the Kings, beating the Ducks and the San Jose Sharks on Saturday becomes critical in continuing to hold down the second wild-card spot.