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The New York Islanders dropped their third game in a row last night, falling 5-2 to the Boston Bruins.
With Bo Horvat returning to the lineup, he joined the top line with Mathew Barzal and Oliver Wahlstrom, and Anders Lee moved down to the second line, replacing Pierre Engvall. Adam Pelech was also back out of the lineup and Samuel Bolduc drew back into action as a result.
The Bruins came out strong, as the better team in the first half of the opening period, needing Ilya Sorokin to come up with some good saves, including one from in-close on Trent Frederic. But then with about six minutes to go in the frame, Frederic got another opportunity and managed to beat Sorokin with a good shot this time, as the Bruins opened the scoring.
However, with a power play late in the first period, the Islanders were able to sustain the most pressure they had up to that point, and Brock Nelson managed to bat in a rebound out of mid-air, tying the game before the end of the frame.
Boston went back ahead on a power play of their own early in the second period though, with Charlie Coyle taking a pass from Pavel Zacha in-close and beating Sorokin for the Bruins to re-take the lead. It wasn’t a wildly eventful frame from there, with the teams combining for just 11 total shots in the period, as Boston held a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.
Simon Holmstrom managed to tie the game back up again for the Islanders, taking a pass from Jean-Gabriel Pageau to score on a rush. However, on the same Bruins power play, David Pastrnak wristed a shot that just squeaked through Sorokin, to put the Bruins right back ahead.
Then only six minutes after that, Charlie Coyle buried a nice cross-crease pass from James van Riemsdyk, to create the first multi-goal lead of the game. New York couldn’t get a ton going from there, and Coyle scored an empty netter late to complete the hat trick, as the Islanders fell 5-2.
Similar to the loss against Minnesota, the Islanders were in the game, but a less-than-stellar third period was a difference-maker, and New York only managed 14 shots on goal across the back 40 minutes altogether.
Also in terms of the Islanders’ lineup: I said after the loss to Minnesota that I was all for a Barzal-Horvat-Wahlstrom line, but moving Anders Lee onto the second line and scratching Pierre Engvall just seemed like a needless decision. Engvall had a brutal turnover against the Wild, but there's just no way Lee has made more of an impact than Engvall this season. If Lane Lambert is afraid to scratch Lee, there was the option to move him down the lineup and scratch someone from the bottom-six.
The good news in this is that the top line was pretty good, outshooting opponents 9-4 while on the ice together at 5-on-5 (according to NaturalStatTrick.com). Oliver Wahlstrom, who feels like he’s approaching the ‘Now or Never’ timeframe for his development, led all Islanders’ forwards in shots.
The bad news though was that, as expected, the second line did not improve with the addition of Lee. The trio of Lee-Nelson-Palmieri were outshot 11-4, and were on the ice for two goals against.
So once again, the Islanders were limited by their offense, scoring two goals for the second game in a row. As of now, New York ranks 29th in the NHL in goals per game.
The Islanders will be back in action tomorrow, as they host the Washington Capitals.
OTHER ARTICLES FROM NOVEMBER
- Blown leads, reliance on goaltending are issues on Islanders' point streak
- Islanders’ point streak ends in home loss to Wild