The Islanders fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 4-0, stopped by Tristan Jarry. The game featured strong physical plays and a large amount of scoring opportunities. Despite the Islanders’ best efforts, it was a three-minute span where the Isles dug their own grave.
The New York Islanders were shutout by Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry Friday night in Brooklyn and missed out on another big two points.
Coming off of a loss in Philadelphia, the matchup against the Penguins could have been one of the games to correct some problems. Pittsburgh has been struggling and not playing like a two-time defending Stanley Cup champion. In addition, starting goaltender Matt Murray was out due to injury. However, this prime chance was thrown away in two minutes and 49 seconds.
That short span is all it took for the game to get out of hand for the Isles. In the second period, Pittsburgh forward Daniel Sprong buried a 2-on-1 breakaway. The rush happened due to Sidney Crosby stripping the puck away from Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy in the offensive zone.
Nice pass, nice shot. pic.twitter.com/R6qseLUvBf
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 6, 2018
As if the loss wasn’t enough, top-line winger Josh Bailey left the game in the middle of the first frame. It was almost a full period later when it was announced from the Isles via Twitter that Bailey will not return due to a lower-body injury. Islanders fans can only hope he is not gone long-term.
“I would not expect to see him,” Doug Weight said in an interview with MSG Networks after the game when talking about Sunday’s game against the New Jersey Devils.
Bailey has been one of the more consistent forwards all year, posting 50 points in 42 games. Two other skaters left the ice in the third period as well. Forward Andrew Ladd and defenseman Ryan Pulock both left the game before its conclusion. Nothing has been announced on their statuses yet.
From the drop of the puck, the game was extremely physical. Furthermore, the referees let them play which is nice to see in today’s NHL. More often than not, the refs get in the way and break up the physical play. Both clubs tonight however, left everything on the ice. Pittsburgh goaltender, Tristan Jarry, was simply better than any effort the Islanders threw at him.
There was an interesting scene in the first period when Isles forward, Cal Clutterbuck, hit the center ice camera just above the boards. Clutterbuck, while under pressure, flipped the puck to get it out of the zone when the puck soared too high. The puck clipped the camera, leaving the referees confused as to whether or not it was a delay of game penalty. No power play was awarded and no goal was scored in the one minute and 51 seconds later so it proved to not play a huge factor. However, it could have been a major play in the game if a goal followed the sequence.
Cal "the Camera Killer" Clutterbuck! pic.twitter.com/vk6yGIvDjL
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 6, 2018
The defense hurting the Islanders has not been a new issue by any standards. The defensive production has actually seemed to hurt them more than help them in recent memory. Coming into Friday’s matchup, the Isles were outscored in the last four games, 21 to eight. The goaltending is an issue, sure, but to say the entire problem lies with Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss is wrong. The defense continues to fail the team each and every night. Fans can only hope that general manager Garth Snow knows what he’s doing. Due to the recent play, it is hard to understand why any defenseman would get a contract extension. Scott Mayfield, however, managed to get a five-year extension on Thursday. Hopefully Snow is not committing time and money to the wrong players.
Despite the Islanders frustrating performance, the game had a theme much larger than hockey. “Do It For Daron” is a ceremonial event about the life of Daron Richardson, Assistant Coach Luke Richardson’s daughter. Daron took her life on Nov. 13, 2010 at the age of 14. Since then, the night was originally in celebration of Daron but has since grown into a youth mental awareness night. The Isles included a nine-minute feature on Daron’s hockey teammates, friends and family, as well as the progress and growth of “Do It For Daron.”
(Video produced and provided by TSN) pic.twitter.com/PwFKyKdl1x
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 6, 2018
The Isles take to their home ice again on Sunday afternoon when they take on the New Jersey Devils at 1 PM.