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Islanders Puck Talk – Weekly Review

What an awful week and a half of Islanders hockey.  After a decent 2-2 start, the Isles now sit at 3-4-1.  It partially isn’t their fault, considering they’ve already played San Jose and Nashville twice, and have played a “unique” schedule.  There’s no rhyme or reason to their schedule so far, with multiple days off between games and a wonky travel schedule.  They were on a Western Conference road trip, then they were home for one game, and now they’re off to Philadelphia.  Let’s take a look at this wild week in Islanders hockey.

New York Islanders @ Anaheim Ducks – October 17th, 2018

Score – 4-1 Ducks

Player of the game – Mat Barzal

Team Grade – C+ (An unfortunate loss)

Just like the first game against the Predators, this loss was more an unfortunate series of events than a bad loss.  A bad goal given up with six seconds left in the first period and an overturned goal from Mat Barzal sparked a drubbing from the Ducks.

Mat Barzal scored about halfway through the second period, but the goal was reviewed and overturned due to goaltender interference.  It was one of the more absurd calls, a call that makes Islander fans believe that Toronto is still out to get them.  There was clearly no goaltender interference as the whistle never blew and Barzal didn’t push John Gibson’s pads into the net.  However, Toronto saw it a different way and overturned the goal.

Shortly after, Ryan Kelser scored again to make it 2-0.  The second goal took the wind out of the Isles’ sails, and they never recovered.  A third goal by Adam Henrique in the third sealed the game, and although Casey Cizikas cut the lead to two, the game was well over by that time.

New York Islanders @ Los Angeles Kings – October 18th, 2018

Score – 7-2 Islanders

Player of the game – Val Filppula

Team Grade – B (The score is a bit deceiving)

The Islanders put a hurting on the Los Angeles Kings, but even though the score got out of hand quick there’s more to the story.  Casey Cizikas scored quick in the first period but the score was tied at one after one period.  Josh Bailey scored a PPG in the second, along with offensive stud Valtteri Filppula later in the period.

The Islanders were on their way to an easy 3-1 win when a bad penalty cost them.  Jeff Carter scored on the Power Play to cut the lead to one.  However, unlike normal Islander teams who would fold, the Isles added to their lead with a SHG by Val Fipplula.  Filppula had three points, and Matt Martin, Leo Komarov, and Andrew Ladd added goals to pot this one away.

The concerning thing about this game was that the Islanders were actually outplayed for the majority of it.  The score may indicate a blowout, but if a couple pucks bounce a different way, it could have been 7-2 Kings.

New York Islanders @ San Jose Sharks – October 20th, 2018

Score – 4-1 Sharks

Player of the game – Brock Nelson

Team Grade – C- (A bad game)

The Islanders were spent after two tough games against the Ducks and Kings.  Their final opponent on the Western Conference road trip was the almighty San Jose Sharks.  The Sharks took it to the Islanders the entire game, with the exception of the first period.  Brock Nelson scored the lone goal for the Islanders.

The Islanders never had a shot, as they tired and weathered throughout the game.  It’s kind of ridiculous to expect a team to be on the road all week yet only play three games.  However, giving up 41 shots consistently isn’t a recipe for success, so it’s equal parts fatigue and poor execution.

Florida Panthers @ New York Islanders – October 24th, 2018

Score – 3-2 Panthers (OT)

Player of the game – Robin Lehner

Team Grade – A+ for first two period, F for third and overtime

This was a rough one.  The third period of this game was probably the worst collective period so far this season.  The Islanders dominated the Panthers for the first two period, with a goal by Brock Nelson in the first (albeit a strange deflection off of Mike Matheson), and a tuck by Jordan Eberle on the Power Play, set up by none other than Mathew Barzal.

The third period was a full on display of everything that’s wrong with the Islanders this season.  They barely possessed the puck, gave up a boatload of high danger shots (that resulted in two goals) and took dumb penalties that kept the Panthers in the game.  Two easily preventable goals later and the Islanders found themselves scrambling in overtime.

ANOTHER penalty by Mat Barzal (which prevented an odd man rush) gave the Panthers a 4 on 3 in overtime, and the eventual game winner.  It was the worst game for Val Filppula so far, as he lost many key faceoffs, including the game winning one in the defensive zone.  It was a loss by the Islanders that gives fans PTSD, as this was the same kind of loss that’s been seen for years.


The Islanders may have a new President, General Manager, and Head Coach but a lot of the same issues that have plagued them for multiple seasons are rearing its ugly heads again.  Blown third period leads, being outshot by a large margin, and poor puck possession are just a few of these factors that prevent the Islanders from being a better team.

It may be a long season after all, but it’s still early enough to say that Barry Trotz’s system hasn’t fully registered in the minds of the Islanders.  There have been fewer defensive breakdowns, and overall the team does look better.  However, the Islanders are still the Islanders, and until they shake that image they’re not going to have any sustained success.

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