If the New York Islanders’ effort in the series opener against the Boston Bruins was bad, Friday night’s rematch was disappointing.
Boston shut out the Islanders, 3-0, as New York has now dropped three of its last four games overall. Jeremy Swayman out-dueled fellow rookie Ilya Sorokin to earn his first NHL shutout.
Barry Trotz said he liked the way the Islanders started the game where they seemed to have life and push in the offensive zone, but a late-period mistake cost them and the team never really recovered the rest of the way. The effort was there but the results were not.
“It was a playoff type of pace and physicality,” he said after the loss. “And then just two individual mistakes on their first two goals. We got a little loose on the first one, we didn’t recognize danger.
“I think if we played this game the other night we might’ve won a hockey game.”
David Pastrnak breaks through. What a feed from Mike Reilly.
1-0 Boston. pic.twitter.com/uqkim3vS1y
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 16, 2021
Let’s take a look at some of the nitty gritty from this one.
Second period woes continue
Yes, David Pastrnak scored in the closing seconds of the first period, but the Islanders response in the middle period was nothing short of a letdown.
Boston controlled the pace and possession for large chunks of the 20 minutes, and the Islanders couldn’t really get anything going offensively.
Overall in the period, Boston had nearly 70 percent of the shot attempts and cashed in on Taylor Hall’s second goal in as many nights. The Islanders have mostly endured rough second periods over this recent stretch and that continued Friday in a game where they needed a rebound and couldn’t get it.
Power play strikes out
Even with the addition of Kyle Palmieri to the unit, the man advantage is just not clicking for the Islanders right now and it was on full display at TD Garden.
The Islanders had their opportunities — five of them — on the power play and didn’t connect once. Boston did a strong job clogging up the neutral zone and blue line, giving the Islanders fits on zone entries.
“I think as the game goes on, it does slow down — that’s typical,” Trotz said of the power play. “You’ll see a lot of teams in the league, they’ll score one or two, say 2-for-3 in the game. And then they get another three power plays and get nothing. That’s just sort of what happens. You’re a little fresh early in the game.”
We've had some chances pic.twitter.com/nuCWpCRpNV
— Isles on MSG+ Tonight (@IslesMSGN) April 16, 2021
With five power plays, the Islanders only generated nine shots, shy of two per power play. Swayman was perfect on all of them.
The Islanders are now 24th in the league on the power play, clicking at just 17.4 percent of the time. Chances are they’ll rebound with some goals soon, but as the East division race tightens, they’ll need more production from the special teams unit.
But speaking of Palmieri, a little side note on his play. He generated a team-high 11 chances on net at 5-on-5 and he had the second best Corsi For on the team.
Sorokin, penalty kill keep Islanders in it
The Islanders were close throughout the game thanks to the defense and Sorokin keeping them in play. The netminder made 25 saves overall. The Bruins registered two shots over their three man-advantage opportunities as the Islanders moved to 82 percent on the penalty kill for the year.
The Islanders head to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. The Islanders have won the last four in the season series, the last two in shootouts.