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Islanders Takeaways: Little Defense & Even Less Offense Against Canucks



AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Elmont, NY–The New York Islanders lost to the Vancouver Canucks by a final of 5-2 at UBS Arena on Tuesday night.

Filip Hronek, Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, Tyler Myers and Dakota Joshua scored for Vancouver. Brock Nelson had two goals for the Islanders.

Canucks goalie Casey DeSmith made had a fairly relaxing night at the office, facing 20 shots and making 18 saves. Ilya Sorokin stopped 29 of 33.

But that’s just the box score. Here are the key takeaways from the night that was on Long Island.

Check It Out: Islanders Play As Sloppy As The Weather In Loss To Vancouver

Bad Defense Comes Back To Bite:

All year long, shaky play in their defensive zone has held the Islanders back. They’ve survived it in games against lesser opponents, but it proved fatal against the NHL’s top offense.

The most egregious breakdown came when the always-dynamic Quinn Hughes was given an open lane to stroll through the slot and fire a shot past Sorokin to make it 2-0 at 18:42 of the first.

“We clearly didn’t identify our low forward,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “To have him walk off the half-wall like that, right into the middle, it just can’t happen.”

The Islanders didn’t learn their lesson from that mistake as they continued to make it easy for the Canucks and even harder on themselves.

Offense Out To Lunch:

Outside of Brock Nelson, the Islanders had a difficult time generating offense against the Canucks.

In the final two periods, the Islanders had just 11 shots on goal, equal to the amount they had in the first frame. Meanwhile, Vancouver had a 23-19 advantage in scoring chances, according to Natural Stat Trick.

“They just played north,” Lambert said. “They played quickly, and they closed on us quick. We just weren’t very good tonight in terms of moving pucks and playing quickly. As a result, we didn’t really generate a lot.”

Pelech Plays:

Adam Pelech returned to action after missing the last 20 games while sitting on long-term injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

In 17:33 of ice time during his return, Pelech was a -1.

“He showed signs of rust,” Lambert said. “He’s been on for a while. It was good for him to get back into game action. You can skate all you want, but once you get into the game and get against an opposition, you see a difference there.”

Pelech learned that firsthand when he attempted to skate the puck out of danger in the defensive zone but had it stripped away by Elias Pettersson, quickly resulting in a Vancouver score.

“I was trying to take a couple of hard strides to get it out of trouble before moving it,” Pelech said. ” I got my pocket picked. That’s one I want to have back for sure.

“It was great to be back. It’s been a long time. I’m not thrilled with my game there. There are no excuses. I got to be better. We’ll get there, but it was great to be back in the lineup with the guys.”

Cizikas Exits Early:

Casey Cizikas exited the game early in the second period and did not return.

Near the end of the first, the Islanders center valiantly dropped to a knee to block a bomb of a shot from Filip Hronek. However, once he was down, Cizikas had a difficult time getting back up.

Cizikas did manage to get back to his feet, but only after Hronek scored to put Vancouver ahead 1-0.

Like traffic on the parkways, Cizikas made his way toward the Islanders’ dressing room with the assistance of two trainers. He did return to the bench before the end of the period and came out with the team following the intermission. He exited the game after taking a single shift in the second.

Lane Lambert did not have an update on Cizikas’ condition when asked postgame.

Up Next:

The Islanders open their doors to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night. Puck drop from UBS Arena is scheduled for just past 7 p.m. EST.




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