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New York Islanders

No Effort, No Goals; Islanders Shutout In Minnesota

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The New York Islanders were left visibly–and understandably–frustrated after losing their last game in the worst way imaginable.

What wasn’t understandable was their response.

Rather than using their frustration as motivation on Monday night against a reeling Minnesota Wild team, the Islanders let it poison them as they were shut out 5-0 in an effortless, one-sided affair at Xcel Energy Center.

“We didn’t do anything very well at all tonight,” Anders Lee said. “They were on top of us quite a bit. We couldn’t get to our game, and I think our effort needs to be elevated. We need to have a better showing. Got to get pissed off. There were a lot of things that added up to a poorly played hockey game.”

An early penalty put the Islanders in an early 1-0 hole.

While Lee sat in the box for slashing, Mats Zuccarello slung a wrist shot from beyond the left faceoff circle that was just outside the reach of Ilya Sorokin’s blocker but just inside the far post.

Lee’s penalty was one of three the Islanders took in the first period. In total, the Islanders’ penalty kill was put to work five times and allowed two goals.

“It put us behind the eightball,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “We can’t take that many penalties. Shorthanded three times in the first, it didn’t get us a chance to get on our game. But there was plenty of time to get on our game, somehow, and we just didn’t get there in the second period.

As the middle frame began, the over-aggression the Islanders showed in the first had changed to apathy.

From behind his own goal, Sebastion Aho swung the puck up the boards in an attempt to clear the zone, only to have it easily picked off by Connor Dewar at the Islanders’ blue line. With a few strides forward and a subtle head-fake, Dewar beat Sorokin clean to make it 2-0 Wild.

Joel Eriksson Ek later capitalized on the power play for one of his two goals in the game to extend Minnesota’s lead to three.

By the time the period ended, the Islanders had been outshot 20-3 and out-chanced 11-2, making for the worst brand of hockey the Islanders have displayed all year, with Sorokin having already faced 32 shots in the game.

“We got outworked, and we got to outcompeted,” Lambert said. “I just didn’t like our effort at all. I didn’t think we were 100% committed to playing the game the right way right from the start, and it just kind of snowballed as we went along.”

The Islanders put together a better third period, but by then, it was too late. Lambert had waived the white flag by sparing Sorokin of any more unnecessary work and inserting Ken Appleby into the game.

The recently called-up goalie did about as well as one would expect in his first NHL appearance in nearly six years, surrendering a shorthanded tally to Eriksson Ek and another to Marcus Foligno. Appleby finished the night with six saves on eight shots.

On the other end for Minnesota, Marc-Andre Fleury pitched the 74th shutout of his career by making 21 saves. The win was his 552nd, elevating him past the legendary Patrick Roy for second all-time in league history. Both accomplishments are certainly admirable for the future Hall of Famer, but it’s not as if the Islanders made it all that difficult for him, either.

Instead, the Islanders made things hard on themselves.

“We needed better [energy],” Brock Nelson said. “You got to be better in different areas. It’s not something you can see, but you definitely know you need it.”

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