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Rapid Reaction: Islanders Slump Continues with Ugly Loss to Maple Leafs

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New York Islanders

ELMONT, N.Y. — The New York Islanders dropped their sixth consecutive game on Sunday night to complete a disappointing opening weekend at UBS Arena. They fell 3-0 to the Toronto Maple Leafs and are now 5-8-2 on the season after the latest defeat.

How it Happened: It was goals in the first and third periods that dashed the New York Islanders hopes of halting their now six-game skid. It began in the opening frame when Toronto took advantage of a New York mistake on the man-advantage.

Jake Muzzin sent a home run pass to Mitch Marner, who had gotten behind the play. Marner was able to skate to the net and backhand the puck past Ilya Sorokin to put Toronto up by one 3:31 into the first period.

It was Ondrej Kase’s goal in the third period that sealed the deal for Toronto just two minutes into the third. It was an impressive sequence of passing that led to the second goal of the night.

Nick Ritchie beat out Grant Hutton to a puck along the end boards and was able to swat it to David Kampf, who sent a crisp pass to Kase for the goal. Marner recorded his second of the night when he redirected a shot from in front of the net at the 13:29 mark of the third.

Sorokin made 37 saves for the Islanders in the loss and is now 5-5-2 this season.

Who are These Isles?: The New York Islanders were without a number of their regulars due to COVID-19, but the team seemed out of sorts yet again.  Shots were few and far between for the Islanders, who only registered 19 through 60 minutes on Sunday night. Passing had been less than perfect and the number of shots against that the Islanders allowed was high, at 40.

Part of that can be contributed to the inexperience of a number of players in the lineup, but even the seasoned members of the roster struggled to create any sustained momentum or looked a half step slower. In one instance, Mathew Barzal was beaten to a puck that he could have easily gotten to.

“We just have to find a way,” Matt Martin said. “We just have to keep battling, keep grinding and dig ourselves out of this thing. Like I said, it hasn’t been ideal and it isn’t what we wanted. What we have here is each other and we just have to keep pushing forward.”

Shorthanded Goals Continue: The New YorkIslanders power play has been an ongoing topic of conversation at the start of the year. While the team has failed to capitalize during most of their man-advantages, their opponents have been able to cash in while shorthanded.

The Islanders didn’t allow a single shorthanded goal in 56 games last year, but have already surrendered three in 15 games this year. Marner’s goal less than four minutes in was the latest one as the Islanders power-play unit went 0-for-3 against Toronto.

New York didn’t have many answers as to why it has been occurring more frequently this season.

“We work on the power play a lot,” Anthony Beauvillier said. “We had some good looks in the past. We’re trying to get it going. We’re obviously working on it and it’s unfortunate. We’ve got to clean that up, but I think we’ve had some good looks on the power play lately and we have to just keep building our game.

“It doesn’t matter our power play, penalty kill, 5-on-5. We just have to keep pushing and get out of this all together.”

Brock Leaves Early: Already shorthanded, the New York Islanders played the final 40 minutes of Sunday’s loss without Brock Nelson. The only Islanders forward to score at UBS Arena so far did not return to the bench for the second or third period.

Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said that he left the loss with a lower-body injury, but didn’t have any more details other than that.

Up Next: The New York Islanders will host the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at UBS Arena. The meeting is the first one between the longtime rivals at the Isles’ new home.

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