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Rapid Reaction: Islanders Fall in Shootout as Lead Slips Away Late

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New York Islanders

ELMONT, N.Y. — The New York Islanders dropped Sunday’s matinee 4-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights in the shootout. The loss moves New York to 8-12-6 on the season and 2-5-3 at UBS Arena.

How it Happened: Shea Theodore and Nicolas each scored in the shootout to clinch the win for Vegas over the New York Islanders. Vegas forced extra time when Theodore scored his second goal of the night with 47.1 left on the clock. In a similar fashion to his first goal, Theodore fired a hard shot that got by Ilya Sorokin.

The Vegas opened the scoring just over six minutes into the first period. Jonathan Marchessault was able to sweep a rebound past Sorokin to give Vegas the early 1-0 lead. 

The Islanders were able to even the score back up at the 11:08 mark of the first while they were on the power play. Brock Nelson’s shot went off the skate of a Vegas defender and made it past Robin Lehner to tie the game at one. The goal was Nelson’s 10th of the season.

Vegas broke the tie with a power-play goal midway through the third period. Zdeno Chara had been booked for tripping and Vegas made quick work of the ensuing opportunity. Shea Theodore fired a big blast from the point that got by Sorokin at 5:46 of the third period and put the visitors on top, 2-1.

New York wasn’t done just yet with vegas. The New York Islanders showed some of the fight they’ve had in years past and Kieffer Bellows tied the game at two in the third. Bellows took a home run pass from Zach Parise and fired the puck through the legs of Lehner.

The Islanders scored the go-ahead goal at the 17:40 mark of the third period when Jean-Gabriel Pageau took a pass from behind the net from Oliver Wahlstrom and put it in from down low. The goal came moments after it looked as though Cal Clutterbuck had given the Islanders a lead, but had it waved off because the play was offsides.

Overtime is Not the Isles’ Time: The New York Islanders haven’t had much success in overtime this season and that didn’t change on Sunday as they dropped their latest contest against Vegas. The Islanders played a more structured 3-on-3, perhaps their best this season according to head coach Barry Trotz. The Isles have yet to win an overtime game this season and they’ve not scored in any of their three shootout losses.

As a team, the Islanders are 0-for-7 on shoot chances. The Islanders have been banking points, but letting games slip away at the final moment is not exactly what New York needs right now.

“I don’t know if there is a trend,” Brock Nelson said. “Three-on-threes you have to pick your spots, be smart with the puck and a little bit more of a possession game. Turn back, try to be patient and wait for an opportunity to attack. When you have your chance you want to be sure to capitalize on it. I know a couple of games we had some looks. We didn’t get it and get the win so,  I don’t know if there is a trend.”

Bellows Steps Game Up: Kieffer Bellows had a goal and an assist on Sunday against Vegas and had a pair of shots on goal during his 7:40 of ice time. Bellows has stepped up his play and his goal late in the third period had been a big momentum boost for the New York Islanders.

Bellows had his career NHL fight.

“Being inserted tonight I just tried to do anything I can to help this team win,” Bellows said. “Like I said before, if that means trying to score or trying to fight I’ll do what it takes. We’re disappointed with the loss, but a point is good.”

Lehner Given a Warm Welcome: Robin Lehner spent only a year on Long Island, but the mark he left and that the fans left on him has carried on in the years since he played for the New York Islanders. Lehner was recognized for his time on the Isles during a stoppage of play in the first period with a video tribute. The fans gave him a loud ovation and he pointed to a tattoo of Long Island on his neck when he was shown on the video board.

“So many factors to long island and the people. …They gave me back the love for hockey,” Lehner said after the game. “It’s so much more than hockey to me. I can’t explain it.”

Up Next: The New York Islanders will host the Washington Capitals on Thursday at UBS Arena at 7:30 p.m.

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