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New York Islanders

Islanders Loss To Predators Unimaginable But Not Indescribable



AP Photo/Mark Zaleski

The New York Islanders felt within reach of victory in the third period on Saturday against the Nashville Predators.

But when Nashville jumped ahead with 7.9 seconds left to play, all the Islanders were left with was the broken feeling of a 3-1 loss at Bridgestone Arena.

With the score tied 1-1 in the final minute, Nashville ramped up the pressure in the Islanders’ end. In a desperate attempt to clear the zone, Matt Martin sent the puck from the half-wall straight into the middle of the ice, where the Predators picked it up.

The puck eventually made its way over to Alexandre Carrier, who fired a slapshot that Scott Mayfield initially blocked. However, as the puck snapped his stick, it floated through the air before falling behind Ilya Sorokin in goal.

“We turned the puck over and tried to go through the middle of the ice,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “It’s a cardinal sin in our zone. We turned the puck over, and they ended up getting a shot that broke a stick and alley-oops over. It was a calamity of errors.”

Islanders players summed up the emotion of the moment.

“It’s a kick in the nuts,” Anders Lee said. “That’s a bounce with seven seconds that just kills.”

“That last one is just a [bad] bounce,” Kyle Palmieri said. “There’s nothing you can do there.”

With the Islanders up a goal late in the third, Palmieri took a tripping penalty that let the Predators back into the game.

Luke Evangelista scored with five seconds remaining on the Nashville power play, tying the score with a shot that made its way past a screened Sorokin. Juuso Parsinen scored the third and final goal of the night for the Predators on an empty net.

Sorokin ended the evening with 25 saves on 27 shots as he battled Nashville netminder Juuse Saros in a duel of former Vezina Trophy finalists.

Shot for shot, save for save, Sorokin and Saros matched each other all night as the Islanders and Predators played into the third period with both sides of the scoreboard reading zero. Eventually, it was Jean-Gabriel Pageau who broke the stalemate.

Standing in the slot with the blade of his stick serving as the perfect target for Noah Dobson’s slap pass, Pageau deflected a puck past Saros, breaking the scoreless tie 12 minutes into the third period.

Pageau’s fifth goal of the season came by way of Dobson’s fifth assist in his last two games. Cal Clutterbuck was credited for the secondary assist.

Soon enough, though, the elation of the moment wore off as the Islanders went into another late-game tailspin.

“No, you can’t,” Lambert said when asked by reporters in Nashville if he could imagine losing a game in such a fashion.

With the loss, the Islanders record drops to 19-13-10 as they’ve failed to beat the Predators in 10 straight meetings.

Altogether, Saturday night ended in the worst way imaginable for the Islanders and was also the worst way for them to begin their road trip.

The Islanders travel to Minnesota for a meeting with the Wild on Monday, which is the first half of a back-to-back set that concludes in Winnipeg the day after.




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