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The New York Islanders wrapped up their four-game Western Conference road trip last night, falling 4-1 to the Calgary Flames.
A story heading into the game was that Mathew Barzal was a last minute scratch after warmups, so Ross Johnston came back into the lineup. Meanwhile, Semyon Varlamov made his first start since mid-December.
The Islanders couldn’t have gotten off to much of a worse start, giving up the opening goal under five minutes in, as Milan Lucic capitalized off a turnover from Scott Mayfield to beat Varlamov. Then only a minute and a half later, while Varlamov stopped Blake Coleman on a rush, Coleman was allowed to just get the easy rebound and score, making it a 2-0 game. Calgary was able to add to their lead again later in the frame, with Nikita Zadorov just firing a shot on net from the point, which found its way in through traffic.
New York did get one back with only a minute to go in the frame, as Zach Parise made a nice move to get around a defender and score, but the Islanders still trailed 3-1 through 20 minutes. It basically followed the theme of poor starts across the entire four-game road trip.
The Islanders did have some opportunities in the second frame, with not one, but two breakaways midway through the period, but neither Casey Cizikas or Jean-Gabriel Pageau could beat Jacob Markstrom. Those were the Islanders’ best chances to pull within one, but they remained at a 3-1 deficit after the second period.
Then in the third period, Nazem Kadri managed to put Calgary up by three, picking a corner with a perfect shot. New York didn’t get a whole lot going after that, falling 4-1.
It wraps up a disappointing road trip for the Islanders, where the team went 1-3-0, picking up two of a possible eight points. They got off to a poor start with a subpar first period in all four games and through most of the road trip, there really wasn’t a whole lot of urgency in their game.
Considering the poor road trip came after three very strong home games where the Islanders arguably looked more dominant than they had all season, it’s frustrating, to say the least.
Mathew Barzal’s injury certainly didn’t help, but the Islanders were flat for most of the entire road trip beforehand as well. At least it doesn’t seem like it’s a serious injury, even if ‘day-to-day’ doesn’t always seem to actually mean day-to-day with the Islanders.
Semyon Varlamov’s return didn’t go as anticipated either, given he allowed four goals on just 21 shots. I really don’t fault him for most goals, but he wasn’t able to come up with saves when needed.
The Islanders will be back in action against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, kicking off a five-game homestand. It'll be a stretch of games where the Islanders really need to pick up some points, to keep pace in the Metropolitan Division.
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