The New York Islanders dropped this contest by a score of 6-2 down in Tampa Bay.
The Lightning scored two power play goals on three total attempts. While there’s an argument to make by saying that Tampa is an offensive catalyst, there’s something more frustrating and concerning for this he Islanders. Don’t look now Isles fans, but the penalty kill has been horrendous as of late.
#Isles PK is 14 for 23 (60.9%) in last seven games, dropping them to 28th in the league. Tampa PP is first at 27.8%.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) December 6, 2017
As Islanders beat writer Arthur Staple from Newsday tweeted, the Lightning power play is first in the league and on Tuesday night, and they played to their ranking. Tampa was surgical up and around the boards with a strong cycle game that got the penalty killers out of position. The majority of their goals came on rebounds either off of the boards, players or Greiss himself.
It only took two minutes and 24 seconds in the second period for the tide to turn from a 2-2 tie to a 5-2 deficit for the Islanders. That is when two power play goals came and 25-year-old Isles killer, Yanni Gourde, came into play. The forward has only eight goals on the year, but four have come against the Islanders alone.
Despite the embarrassing loss, there was definitely one bright spot at the very least. His name is Mathew Barzal. The rookie collected two points and single-handedly brought the Islanders back to life. Barzal‘s backhand beauty came at the end of an Isles power play.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 6, 2017
Since Barzal is young, full of energy and never content, he made it so winger Jordan Eberle had plenty of time and space to make something just moments later.
Pucks are just flying in the net when @Barzal_97's touching it.
— NHL (@NHL) December 6, 2017
What New York needs to do to get back on track is simple. They have to play tighter defense. However, due to their inconsistent play on the defensive end, this task hasn’t been simple all season. Defense and goaltending specifically have been the Achilles’ heel for the Isles thus far.
In both of his goals, Gourde was alone floating around in the Islanders zone; albeit, one occurrence was an odd-man advantage. If the Islanders want to go into Pittsburgh and walk away with two points in any fashion, they need to bring their A-game on both defense and special teams. Other than about ten minutes in the second period, the Islanders were nowhere near the type of team they are capable of being.
The Islanders will be traveling to Pittsburgh to face off against the 15-11-3 Penguins on Thursday night.