Provided that the Islanders are veering towards the fallacious facet of the playoff cutline with maybe the very best pair of goaltenders in hockey, it’s exhausting to guess how ugly this season could be with out them.
These days, the Islanders can not rating, and even their all-world netminder can’t assist them wriggle away from that specific subject. By means of two video games of this homestand — at the same time as Thursday’s got here with pretty much as good a efficiency from Ilya Sorokin as anybody may fairly ask for — the shortage of scoring left the Vezina Trophy front-runner out to dry.
The Isles salvaged some extent on Tuesday however couldn’t do the identical on Thursday when the Wild beat them, 3-1, at UBS Enviornment following a third-period collapse. That made it 4 losses in a row and in 5 out of the final six video games, neither of which the Islanders can significantly afford with their season on the intersection of mediocrity and actual competition.
Proper now, it’s trending in the direction of the previous.
Sam Metal scores the go-ahead purpose on Ilya Sorokin throughout the third interval of the Islanders’ 3-1 loss to the Wild.Getty Pictures
Sorokin stored the Isles within the sport so long as he may on Thursday, because the Wild piled up 4 energy performs and almost doubled the Islanders’ shot complete within the second interval, to no avail. A Jordan Greenway shot via site visitors adopted by Jon Merrill getting a glance on a rebound late within the second appeared like a golden alternative. Sorokin parried the preliminary shot then made a highlight-reel glove save on the second.
Even when Minnesota scored to tie the sport, it got here on what initially appeared like an unbelievable save by Sorokin, springing to his left to remove a wide-open web from Frederick Gaudreau along with his glove. Upon evaluate, although, it was dominated that the puck crossed the road whereas in Sorokin’s glove.
Mere minutes later after a Scott Mayfield turnover, Mats Zuccarello fed Sam Metal an open web, and this time, Sorokin couldn’t recover from to cease it.
The Islanders had typically protected leads effectively at residence this season and took a 1-0 edge into the third, regardless of having been outplayed via 40 minutes.
Scott Mayfield accepts congratulations from teammates after scoring a first-period purpose within the Islanders’ loss.AP
Not this time.
Sorokin’s counterpart, Filip Gustavsson, gave up an unpleasant purpose even by the requirements of typical ugly targets, as Mayfield’s fling from the suitable level skipped off the ice and in at 16:49 of the primary. On an evening wherein offensive alternatives had been exhausting to return by, it appeared like that could be sufficient for some time.
But it surely’s exhausting to win a sport with one purpose. After beating that complete simply as soon as of their final 4 video games, the Islanders are studying that lesson the exhausting method. They had been sloppy with the puck on Thursday, struggled to get out of their very own finish and didn’t generate sufficient on the ability play. None of that’s new. So as to add harm to insult, Cal Clutterbuck left the sport injured with a hair over two minutes to go, adopted shortly by Kirill Kaprizov sealing the sport with an empty-net purpose.
One level out of a potential 4 to open up this pivotal homestand won’t put a relaxed group of veterans into panic mode. However it isn’t one bit acceptable, and the Isles understand it.
A win would have allow them to hop again over the Penguins — not less than in the interim — and make up two factors on the Capitals, who misplaced Wednesday evening in Philadelphia. It additionally would have let the Islanders go into Saturday’s match towards Montreal with momentum on their facet and the potential to take a three-game factors streak into what will likely be a attempting set of video games earlier than the All-Star break.
As an alternative, Saturday is a get-right sport the Islanders want in a nasty method.
There’s nonetheless plenty of time to proper the ship. However the clock is ticking, and issues are going within the fallacious course.