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New York Islanders: Road Trip Recap, Back at UBS for a Bit

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New York Islanders

One of the most brutal losses of the season came for the New York Islanders Tuesday as they blew a 3-2 lead to the Colorado Avalanche and ultimately fell by a score of 5-3.

“Yeah, I mean, the bounces didn’t end up going our way,” New York Islanders Kyle Palmieri said following the loss. “I mean, it’s not a time of year for moral victories, but it just didn’t bounce our way tonight. I think anyone who watched the game could see that.”

The Islanders did not get bounces. With the game tied at three, it looked like the Islanders had taken the lead in the third. After the referee signaled goal as the puck trickled in behind Avalanche netminder Darcy Kuemper, the officials ended up reversing the call after a video review. The “No Goal” call changed the game entirely as the Avalanche scored shortly after. With the Islanders net empty, Josh Bailey, the extra attacker, got in alone on Kuemper but elected to pass the puck instead, resulting in a turnover.

Soon after, the Avalanche capitalized on the empty-netter, and that was all she wrote.

The road trip as a whole was a weird one for the Islanders, but one that defined their season to a tee.

Road Trip Recap

It started with a game in Seattle, where the Islanders put their best skates forward against a struggling Kraken team. After only recording 19 shots on Philipp Grubauer in the game before the All-Star break, the Islanders threw 36 shots at him and won 5-2. The Islanders had a new top-line for that game, as Zach Parise and Kyle Palmieri flanked Mathew Barzal.

The Islanders dominated the San Jose Sharks in the next game, with a season-high 47 shots on goal. Zdeno Chara broke the record for most games played amongst a defenseman in NHL history and had his best showing of the season in the 4-3 shootout loss. The Islanders did come back in the game, trailing 2-1 after one period and then 3-2 during the second. But their effort should have led to two points, as a point was left on the table.

The Islanders, who have had ugly losses this season, had one of their ugliest against the Los Angeles Kings last Saturday. They came out flat, and the Kings jumped on them. The Islanders were chasing two after one period of play and were down 3-0 just a minute into the second period. But ultimately, the Islanders could not hold off the Kings, as they fell 5-2.

It was a double whammy, as Mathew Barzal and Zdeno Chara left the game in the second period and did not return. Both players have not played since then.

The following night, Sunday, the Islanders responded with an impressive effort as they shut out the Anaheim Ducks 4-0. With Barzal and Chara out, Ross Johnston (two assists) and Andy Greene (goal) made the most of their chances. Depth scoring was the storyline along with Ilya Sorokin, as he picked up his 30th career NHL win and eighth career shutout in just 57 NHL games.

And then Tuesday came, and although the Islanders lost to the Colorado Avalanche, the effort and resiliency was there. The Islanders battled and battled, but the Avalanche just kept coming, and like an Avalanche, when it gets going, it’s nearly impossible to stop. The Islanders were outshot 21-10 in the third period but still had a chance to pick up at least a point.

Besides the game against the Los Angeles Kings, the Islanders effort this past road trip was significantly better than what we have seen this season. Despite a 2-2-1 road trip, the Islanders outscored their opponents 17-16 and hung around in a game against the most talented team in the sport to end cap it off.

“This trip outside of LA, I thought we were pretty resilient,” Ryan Pulock said following Tuesday’s loss. “You know, San Jose, we were resilient and didn’t come away with the win, and tonight (Tuesday), we never quit. That’s a tough barn to play in against a really good team. And I thought we fought until the end.”

Returning Home

The New York Islanders are now home for six games. Two of their six opponents on this homestand they have just faced: the Colorado Avalanche and the Anaheim Ducks.

Up first is the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. The last time these two teams met, three weeks ago, the New York Islanders put up a five-spot in the first period before ultimately taking the game by a score of 6-3.

This upcoming Saturday, the Islanders host the St. Louis Blues, the first meeting between these two clubs this season. The St. Louis Blues currently sit second in the Western Conference, with a 32-14-6 record. St. Louis ranks fifth in the NHL in goals per game at 3.58. They also have the sixth-best goals against per game, having allowed just 2.67. Their power play ranks second in the NHL at 27.0%, with their penalty kill fourth at 85.0%.

Monday, March 7, the Islanders host the Colorado Avalanche before a back-to-back later in the week against the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Winnipeg Jets. Columbus (28-25-1) is on the outside looking in but are eight points out of the second wild-card spot in the East and are 7-3-1 in their last 10 games. The Winnipeg Jets (24-21-9) are six points out of a wild-card spot in a tight playoff race in the West. The Islanders shut out the Winnipeg Jets earlier in the season, a 2-0 win back on November 6.  The homestand comes to a close with a matchup with the Anaheim Ducks on March 13.

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