On Thursday night, the New York Islanders had a handful of scoring chances in their 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
However, all their chances went by the wayside until the final minute, where the Islanders scored two goals, with the offense showing up a bit too late.
The goal that broke the camel’s back came with just six seconds to play in the second period as Kings forward Andreas Athanasiou, from a sharp angle, beat Islanders netminder Semyon Varlamov which gave the visiting team a 2-0 lead entering the third period.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) January 28, 2022
However, for me, the game’s turning point came much earlier in the middle frame.
With the help of Matt Martin, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, the Islanders were able to cycle the puck to Noah Dobson, who had crept in a bit from the right point.
Dobson, once the puck was on his stick, made it appear as if he was going to take a slap shot on goa. Instead, he rifled a slap-pass with accuracy to a wide-open Oliver Wahlstrom, who was positioned towards the back-left post.
The play fooled the Los Angeles Kings defensemen, as no one saw the pass coming— not even the intended target in Wahlstrom.
— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) January 28, 2022
This execution by Dobson worked to a tee. Even if Wahlstrom needed to stop the pass, he had the time to do so with the Kings all out of sorts.
But Wahlstrom tried to one-touch the puck in, and he completely mistimes it.
This miss was critical for the Islanders. With just three shots on goal in the first period, a goal there would have given the Islanders three shots before five minutes had played in the second, with a goal.
Against playoff teams, the Islanders have struggled mightily to score goals. Following the loss, the Islanders are now 2-13-2 against teams currently holding a playoff spot, being outscored 58-26.
In January, the Islanders are 0-3-0 to teams in a playoff spot and have been outscored 8-4.
These missed chances have led to the Islanders ugly record against the better opponents, and although this Wahlstrom chance was just one miss, this happens regularly for the New York Islanders’ offense.
So let’s say Wahlstrom scores there.
That’s not to say that Semyon Varlamov does not allow the late tally with seconds remaining in the second. We witnessed the Islanders score with a minute to go in the first period of last Saturday’s loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs to tie the contest and give it right back with under a second to go.
But it certainly would have changed the tide of the game and given the Islanders a better chance at coming away with points. And right now, and for the rest of the season, points are a must, and chances that go by the boards only hinder the Islanders ability to collect them.