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Islanders squander great opportunity with back-to-back weekend losses

March 26, 2023, 7:24 PM ET [130 Comments]
Ben Shelley
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The New York Islanders dropped both games of their back-to-back set this weekend, losing 5-4 in overtime to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, before falling 2-0 to the Buffalo Sabres at home yesterday.

On Friday, the Islanders managed to take a lead against Columbus, but couldn't hold it. Despite actually putting together a strong second period, they gave up three goals in the frame (including two in the last few minutes) to find themselves down 4-2 through 40 minutes. They did manage to battle back in the third period, with goals from Kyle Palmieri and Brock Nelson (who thankfully didn’t miss any games after being injured earlier in the week), but ultimately ended up falling in overtime.

It was a game where the Islanders probably deserved a better fate. They outshot Columbus by quite a margin and didn’t give up a ton at even strength (though Ilya Sorokin also really can’t be blamed for the goals he let in). New York gave up two power play goals (including the game winner) but despite the loss, it wasn’t a poor effort.

The loss to Buffalo was a bit of a different story, though. Other than a pretty solid middle frame, the Islanders didn’t get a ton going and were outplayed in both the first and third periods. They only mustered 26 shots total and weren’t generating a ton of great chances. Buffalo scored with only six minutes to go to finally break the scoreless tie, and the Islanders couldn’t recover.

New York’s top forwards didn’t really come through for them in the loss, which was a factor. Anders Lee and Brock Nelson combined for just one shot, while Josh Bailey did very little in his return to the lineup, despite playing with Lee and Bo Horvat.

With the team in such a tight race for a playoff spot in the East and really starting to build momentum recently, the results are disappointing, to say the least. They dropped a game against the worst team in the conference, before being shut out by a second team who’s likely to miss the postseason as well.

The Islanders are still in a decent spot, but missed a great opportunity this weekend. They’re a single point up on the Pittsburgh Penguins for top wild card spot and four points up on the Florida Panthers, but both teams have a game in hand. Considering the Panthers have dropped three games in a row, New York could’ve really started to pull away with a couple more points over the back-to-back.

Plus, New York has a tougher schedule ahead. The Islanders will host the New Jersey Devils, before playing three straight road games against the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes. Given the difficulty of their schedule, those were important points lost this weekend.



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