The New York Islanders were especially resilient on Monday afternoon, but it wasn’t enough to come away with two points.
- St. Louis Blues 3 (3-0-0, 6 points)
- New York Islanders 2 (1-1-1, 3 points)
- NHL, Final, Box Score
- Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
St. Louis jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to a pair of second-period goals from Vladimir Tarasenko. His first came on a beautiful spinning backhand shot from the faceoff circle to the right of Thomas Greiss with 10:22 on the clock.
Nearly six minutes later, he struck again, this one from nearly the same spot on the other side of the ice with the Blues on the power play, beating Greiss with a wrist shot.
But the Islanders wouldn’t go down without a fight.
With just under seven minutes left in the game, Andrew Ladd cut St. Louis’ lead in half with a wicked wrister of his own for his first goal of the season—unlike last season when he didn’t score his first goal of the year until his 13th game with the Islanders.
With Greiss on the bench and the Isles skating with an extra attacker, Anders Lee deposited a rebound of a Thomas Hickey shot past Blues goalie Jake Allen on the backhand to tie things up at the 19-minute mark.
Lee was in perfect position to strike, something the Islanders have become accustomed to seeing since his breakout season last year.
After a scoreless overtime, the game moved to a shootout. Brayden Schenn and Tarasenko scored on St. Louis’ first two chances, while Jordan Eberle and Anthony Beauvillier were denied by Allen.
There’s a lot to dissect from the loss: Joshua Ho-Sang’s apparent struggles, the invisibility of the second powerplay unit and Thomas Greiss’ strong play, among others.
But the most concerning incident of the day wasn’t as much a sequence of plays as it was a singular one. Midway through the second period, Robert Burtuzzo knocked Brock Nelson to the ice and whacked him twice more for good measure.
What an asshole. Make him pay #isles? pic.twitter.com/3Anz8JjUtu
— YeSUV? (@IslesWhiteSUV) October 9, 2017
It was a dirty play, and the Islanders were awarded four minutes on the man advantage. Yet somehow, not a single player stood up for their teammate, not after the initial knockdown, and not after Burtuzzo continued to shove a defenseless player.
This has been a problem since Matt Martin left after the 2015-16 season. It isn’t that the Isles don’t have the personnel to defend their guys; it’s that their personnel chooses not to. Sure, playing disciplined hockey is playing smart hockey, but so is defending your defenseless teammate.
And the Isles keep on failing that test.
The Greiss is Right… After allowing five goals on Opening Night, Greiss was stellar in place of Jaroslav Halak, stopping 33 of 35 shots, including 6 of 7 on the penalty kill. He also made a number of superb saves.
Fruitless… The Isles were 0-6 on the man advantage, and have now given up more shorthanded goals (two) than they’ve scored on the power play this season (zero). This, despite an offseason coaching change. Growing pains, man.
I’m coming home… New York is 47-23-13 at Barclays Center in the two-plus seasons since its inception. It went 38-33-11 during the last two years of the Nassau
Coliseum era, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday.
Day-to-day… Cal Clutterbuck was injured in the season opener and hasn’t played since. Meanwhile, Alan Quine was sidelined prior to the start of training camp but practiced on Sunday.
Milestone marker… John Tavares’ next goal will even him with Bob Bourne (238) for seventh on the Isles’ all-time list. Pat LaFontaine and Brent Sutter are his next targets, at 287.
With the loss… the Isles climb to third place in the Metropolitan division, behind only the Capitals and Flyers. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the Rangers are 1-2-0.
Coming up next… the Isles begin a mini-West Coast trip on Wednesday night when they face off against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. ET.