The New York Islanders just did not have it against the Detroit Red Wings Saturday afternoon. They were too slow, failed to connect on passes, took too many penalties, and did not take advantage of their power-play time.
Listen, games like that happen. The New York Islanders went 2-1-0 on their three-game road trip, beating the Chicago Blackhawks and the St. Louis Blues. They have won five of their last six games and, more often than not, have played their game, finding ways to win even if they have been down.
Saturday seems to be an outlier.
But New York Islanders bench boss thought their game was unacceptable.
“I didn’t think that we played fast enough, and there’s no excuse for it,” Lane Lambert said. “To have 30 shot attempts in the first period and end the game with 63, with 33 in the third period. We didn’t execute maybe as well as we wanted to. And it wasn’t just on the defensemen. It’s everyone.”
“We have to be better.”
Last time we heard similar sentiments from Lambert was following the 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, their fourth game of the season. In that game, the Islanders speed was an issue, but so was their effort level.
Against the Red Wings, I don’t think the effort was an issue, but a lack of speed early, especially against a fast Detroit Red Wings team, gave them no chance to do much.
The only player that was moving his feet consistently was Mathew Barzal, and although he missed his fair share of chances, he was the Islanders’ strongest player by far.
Here’s your NYI Hockey Now postgame mailbag:
The officiating was atrocious (@mslone89)
It’s tough to argue with this. The officials called penalties that, quite frankly, were not, while other times, they let plays go when whistles were a must. And unfortunately for the New York Islanders, they were on the wrong end of most calls/noncalls.
The Alexander Romanov hook, albeit he got his stick under the arm of Detroit Red Wings forward David Perron, was called for because Perron pulled off the veteran “chicken arm” move. The Adam Pelech hook was a phantom call, while Mathew Barzal was high-sticked on a breakaway, Matt Martin was held along the boards in the offensive zone, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau was hooked in the slot.
There were also a few icing calls that went against the Islanders, yet New York seemed to win the race both times.
Despite all of that, the Islanders power play was putrid, and they did not take advantage of their opportunities, which would have allowed them to be in the game much more than they were and, at the very least, build momentum.
4 out of 6 points on the road… I’ll take it (@rickdm116)
The New York Islanders play in a tough Metropolitan Division and the need for points early in the season is integral to making one of the playoff spots. Despite two points being two points, when the Islanders looked back at last season, especially when they were trying to get back into the playoff race in the second half, there were many games early where the Islanders had chances for points but let them slip away.
This season, the Islanders are winning the games they lost last year. And one could argue that against the Chicago Blackhawks, early against the St. Louis Blues, and the entirety of the Detroit Red Wings game was not pretty hockey.
They found a way to win two of the three.
Because of their mid-west success, the Islanders currently hold the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and trail the division-leading New Jersey Devils by four points. They are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers, who hold the third spot because the Flyers have played one less game.
The power play is still crap (@Patreadsthenews)
Before the loss to Detroit, the Islanders had come through just five times on 34 chances.
They leave Detroit with their power play at 13.5 percent, five for 37.
Here’s an article about how the power play is the one area of their game that is holding them back from reaching their full potential.
I love Mat Barzal. He’s the best player on the team. However, he missed the net from the left slot multiple times. Hit the goalie, and good things happen. He, to me, has the potential to be in the top 3 players in the league (@JLeblast)
Mathew Barzal was all over the ice against the Detroit Red Wings. He was setting up his teammates, leading the rush in transition, but missed plenty of chances to score his first goal of the season. He got to the slot in the first period and shot the puck, but he missed wide.
He elected to pass rather than shoot on a two-on-one with Josh Bailey. The pass was in the skates of Bailey, a bit behind his stick, as that chance went behind the board.
And late in the third, Barzal had two wide-open cages but could not find the net as both shots went wide.
He seems a little snake-bitten right now, and if it weren’t for his 11 assists in 12 games, it would be time to panic if you are a New York Islanders fan, given the $73.2 million he will make throughout his eight-year contract, which kicks in next season.
But he has the ability to be a point-per-game player. Not sure about top-three in the NHL.
You also don’t want Wally fighting. He’s not a fighter and will probably lose most of the time. He’s a goal scorer. Wally, with a broken hand, helps nobody. (@Spazemunky)
In Saturday’s contest, Mathew Barzal was hit hard by Detroit Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond in the neutral zone. Josh Bailey quickly defended Barzal, and so did Oliver Wahlstrom, who cut across the ice to jump the Red Wings skilled youngster.
Wahlstrom received the only penalty on the play for roughing.
Everyone gets involved after Lucas Raymond lands a big hit on Mat Barzal. pic.twitter.com/RxeWp5UisK
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 5, 2022
While the Islanders were shorthanded, Adam Pelech took that phantom hooking call, leading to Raymond’s five-on-three power-play goal to give Detroit a 1-0 lead in the second. That served as the game-winning goal.
Many knock Wahlstrom for taking a dumb penalty, but even Thomas Hickey on the postgame show said that he has no problem with what Wahlstrom did, and that’s coming from a former player.
And it’s not about Wahlstrom winning the fight. Yes, you want him to stay healthy and not be too involved in post-whistle shenanigans, but it’s the concept of standing up for a teammate, in this case, the team’s star. Good on Wahlstrom. Just an unfortunate way, that situation played out a few minutes later.
NYI Hockey Now: The New York Islanders failed to push their win streak to six games as they struggled mightily against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday in the 3-0 loss. One of the biggest reasons for their demise was their lack of success on the power play. That’s been the missing link that’s held the Islanders back from reaching their full potential. New York Islanders.
NYI Hockey Now: The New York Islanders failed to continue their winning streak, as they never were able to get to their game on Saturday afternoon as they fell 3-0 to the Detroit Red Wings. The Islanders go 2-1-0 on their three-game road trip and fall to 7-5-0. New York Islanders.
NYI Hockey Now: St. Louis Blues netminder Jordan Binnington is a Stanley Cup champion. He can also be emotional and a goalie who doesn’t mind starting trouble. He did so against the New York Islanders on Thursday night. New York Islanders.
NYI Hockey Now: With the New York Islanders having been in the Gateway to the West, they have a chance to reconnect with two former teammates in Nick Leddy and Thomas Greiss. Both were integral parts in the New York Islanders turning things around as a franchise, as Nick Leddy led on the backend, while Thomas Greiss was a stable presence in goal, something that had been missing from the organization. New York Islanders.