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Rapid Reaction: New York Islanders Power Play, Mistakes Prove Costly in Loss to NJ

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New York Islanders

NEWARK, N.J. — The New York Islanders dropped their second consecutive game on Thursday in a 4-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. The Islanders drop to 5-4-2 on the season.

How it Happened: The New York Islanders allowed goals in each of the three periods on Thursday night. It started in the first when New Jersey scored shorthanded at the 12:12 mark. New Jersey took the puck into the offensive zone and after Ilya Sorokin got caught out of position, Janne Kuokkanen put the puck easily into the net to take a 1-0 lead.

New Jersey doubled that lead in the second when Tomas Tatar scored with 50 seconds left in the second period and New Jersey on the man-advantage. A shot from the point caught Tatar near the side of the net and redirected past Sorokin.

The third resulted in New Jersey throwing salt into the wound by scoring two goals in the final frame. First Dawson Mercer was able to blow by the Islanders’ defense and put one by Sorokin and then Dougie Hamilton got one by Sorokin in the final five minutes.

Ilya Sorokin finished the night with 29 saves on 33 shots on net. It was Sorokin’s third loss of the season.

Power Play Struggles Again: It’s become the early storyline of the New York Islanders young season. The Islanders’ power play went 0-for-3 in Thursday’s shutout loss and cost them a goal in the second period.

New York never established a sustained attack during the power play and the few chances they did get were turned away by Mackenzie Blackwood, who finished the night with 42 saves. The Islanders did have five scoring chances against New Jersey, according to Natural Stat Trick, but none of them were high danger chances.

“Our power play that’s momentum killer. They got basically both goals when we were on the power play,” head coach Barry Trotz said.

When asked what the problem had been with the team’s power play, Trotz pinpointed the decision-making and executions.

“To me, that’s where it starts. We’re coming down, we have to make a play through someone and we don’t make it,” Trotz said. “We have to make a play through someone, which you’re going to have to do. Especially at the opposition blue line, sometimes we throw into someone’s feet. Just little things like that. …Guys want to be on the power play and we have four power-play goals and have given up two. They’re a plus-2 in that area, that’s not good enough. That’s murder for us.”

The Islanders’ four power-play goals are one of the fewest in the NHL and their 16 percent success rate on the man-advantage entering the game had been 25th in the league.

‘We’re Doing it to Ourselves’: Barry Trotz didn’t mince his words after the game. The Islanders had played a decent game before New Jersey changed the course of the game, but the mistakes that the Islanders made would be their ultimate undoing on Thursday.

“We’re doing it to ourselves,” Trotz said. “There’s no one to blame, but ourselves in this loss. There’s a fine line right now and we’re not on the right side of the line.”

The Islanders did finish the game outshooting New Jersey 42-34 in the loss and out-chanced them, according to Natural Stat Trick, 30-25 during 5-on-5 play. Among those chances, 10 were considered high danger.

“I think what ended up happening was a couple of times we were a half step late or they were a half step early we’re a little bit behind or what not,” Anders Lee said. “You have to give them credit, the chances that we did have they did a good job collapsing. Obviously, their goaltender had a great game. Combine all those things and it’s tough to get that momentum to kind of counteract those ones that we talked about.”

Ilya Sorokin was the Islanders’ Best Player: It was no secret who the New York Islanders top performer was on Thursday. Sorokin made save after save and did all that he could to keep the puck out of the net. He did surrender four goals against New Jersey, but the doors didn’t blow open until the third period and New Jersey had taken control of the game.

Sorokin wasn’t the problem on Thursday night and just about everyone was well aware of that. The Islanders allowed New Jersey to create a number of scoring chances and they had several odd-man rushes and breakaways that Sorokin had to fend off.

“I thought their goaltender was first star and our goaltender was second star,” Trotz said. “We gave up breakaways. Just some of our decisions. We didn’t have enough people on the rope today.”

The Islanders Drop to Metro Basement: The loss, coupled with Pittsburgh’s win over Florida in overtime, moved the New York Islanders to the bottom of the Metropolitan Division. Thursday was New York’s second consecutive loss and their first time being held without a goal this season.

Up Next: The Islanders will have another break in their calendar before traveling to Tampa Bay to face the Lightning on Monday night.

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