The New York Islanders aren’t making it easy on themselves in the final few games of the regular season.
After two disappointing losses against the Buffalo Sabres, the Islanders couldn’t right the ship against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, dropping a 2-1 contest.
New York has now lost three in a row, and more than that, have now been guaranteed to be the road team in whichever first-round playoff matchup they’re in.
The Islanders can finish no higher than third in the East.
Let’s take a look at some of the key takeaways from this loss at Nassau Coliseum.
Offensive dry spell continues
When the Islanders added Kyle Palmieri — along with Travis Zajac — before the trade deadline, there was a hope that the team would get the spark it needed without Anders Lee.
Aside from a few outbursts, largely against the New York Rangers, that has not been the case for the Islanders. Since the start of April, the Islanders had scored one or fewer goals in seven games. Thursday made it the eighth time it happened.
In this game, they were badly out-attempted in the first period, and in a twist of fortunes, they actually played a strong second, which culminated in Anthony Beauvillier’s goal.
— x – New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) May 7, 2021
There were chances in the third period, but just not enough to beat a New Jersey team that isn’t playing for much in these final games.
With Jordan Eberle out, Mathew Barzal was flanked by Palmieri and Zajac for most of the game. It was a line that hadn’t played together and didn’t seem to click in this one. But for the postseason, it might be worth keeping Palmieri on that top line to get some sort of offense going.
Defensive lapse leads to game-winner
It might have been subtle, but it was the difference in this game.
With the Islanders and New Jersey tied late in the second period, New Jersey carried the puck and cycled the puck late in its offensive zone. As the puck trekked down to Damon Severson in the left circle, Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield skated just enough toward that area.
The move was just enough for Michael McLeod to skate in behind him on the weakside, where he eventually buried a beautiful pass for the game-deciding goal. It was just a subtle movement from Mayfield that let McLeod get open and change the game.
Beauvillier stays hot
There haven’t been a lot of positives from the Islanders offense lately but Beauvillier has been one of them.
This time he got a little bit of puck luck when the piece of rubber bounced off his skate and into the net. Regardless, he’ll take his 15th goal of the year in any fashion.
After a slow start to the year, the winger now is tied for second on the team in goals heading into the final two games of the season.