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Roy Learns All That Glitters Is Not Gold As Islanders Fall To Vegas



AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Elmont, NY– Patrick Roy can come in and turn around the mindset of the New York Islanders in a matter of days, but he’s going to need some more time to iron out their bad habits.

The areas of focus Roy has stressed early in his tenure looked sharp against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night. The Islanders had an astounding advantage in scoring chances and shots on goal. However, they also led in turnovers and odd-man rushes. As a consequence, they dropped their first game under their new head coach by a final of 3-2 at UBS Arena.

“Tonight was a good step,” Roy said. “Now, what I want is some consistency. The opportunities that you have, you just can’t get them to go. Sometimes, the hockey gods are not on your side, and tonight, that was the case.”

Devine intervention or not, the Islanders were still the ones who turned over the puck 14 times.

After Sebastian Aho coughed up the puck in front of the Islanders’ net, Adam Pelech made a desperate attempt to clear it from the zone. One thing Pelech didn’t account for was Alex Pietrangelo waiting patiently at the blue line. Ivan Barbashev deflected Pietrangelo’s point shot home to put Vegas on the board at 11:50 of the first.

Even though they were down early, the Islanders were succeeding at transitioning through the neutral zone with crisp puck movement, allowing them to put up a season-high 42 shots on goal.

“That was a better recipe for us,” Brock Nelson said. “We’d like to come up with points there for the effort and the game we played.”

In the second, Nelson drew a penalty and then drew the Islanders even.

With his team set for its first power play of the night and Sorokin on the bench for the delayed penalty, Nelson beat Vegas goalie Adin Hill blocker-side for his team-leading 21st goal of the season off assists from Alexander Romanov and Noah Dobson.

Vegas took the lead back later in the period as Sheldon Rempal scored on the power play for his first-ever NHL goal. Using the extra space left on the ice, Rempal flicked a wide-angle shot over the far shoulder of Ilya Sorokin with an assist from Nicolas Roy.

Roy had a goal of his own to extend Vegas’ lead when he collected a defensive zone by Dobson at the blue line and swiftly deposited it into the back of the Islanders’ net.

Entering the second intermission down 3-1, it seemed it didn’t matter what the Islanders did well at that point.

That sentiment only deepened when they failed to swing momentum in their favor by coming up empty on two power play opportunities to open the third period.

“The guys had some good looks, but I thought we could have been a little bit better at our entries,” Roy said. “We have to find a way to win those battles and bring the pucks back.”

Although the Islanders’ man-advantage unit was held in check all night, their shorthanded one stepped up.

On the penalty kill, Simon Holmstrom and Jean-Gabriel Pageau charged out of the defensive end and into the attacking zone, where Pageau ripped a shot for his sixth goal of the season and the Islanders’ league-leading ninth shorthanded one.

“We definitely have a good chemistry,” Pageau said. “We have good ques for when to go and when not to go. We were down, so we’re going to try to create some chances on an odd-man rush.”

The Islanders had a third and final power play chance late in the period, but that was negated by a Mathew Barzal tripping penalty with 32 seconds to go on the man advantage.

The loss drops the Islander’s overall record to 20-16-11 and 1-1-0 with Roy behind the bench.

He’ll bring his new squad out on the road for the first time Thursday for a highly anticipated visit to his old stomping grounds in Montreal.

Notes: Bo Horvat exited the game in the final minute after getting hit in the mouth with a puck. Roy did not know of Horvat’s status when asked postgame.




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