If Thursday was a “prove it” recreation for the Islanders, then the one factor they proved was that they aren’t shut, under no circumstances, to the place they should be in the event that they hope to squeeze something out of this season.
The Islanders entered the night time with their lineup nearer to completely wholesome (Ryan Pulock is the one common nonetheless on injured reserve) and with 4 wins of their final 5 video games, however then fell again to .500 — and flat on their faces — after a 3-2 loss to the Kings which may dispel any lingering notion that there’s a run in them.
Now not is it early within the season. Now not are the Islanders lacking half their lineup because of COVID-19. Now not have they got an outsize variety of house video games left. But nonetheless they appear to be a completely mediocre hockey group.
“[The Kings] were sitting back, making it tough to get through the neutral zone,” Casey Cizikas mentioned. “I thought they were really good at breaking out the puck and making those small area plays when we got in there.”
A postseason berth won’t be within the playing cards even when they had been enjoying at a red-hot tempo, however there definitely gained’t be a spot within the playoffs if that is how the Islanders play each time a group with pedigree involves UBS Area.
Simply as in opposition to the Maple Leafs on Saturday, the Islanders gave up a pointless aim on the finish of a interval. Simply as in opposition to the Capitals two weeks in the past, they struggled to search out a lot offense — Mathew Barzal spent a lot of this recreation skating across the Kings’ zone waiting for something to open up. Simply as in each of these video games, the Islanders misplaced.
It regarded as if a window had opened up for them to get again within the recreation when a tripping name on Blake Lizotte worn out a second Kings aim at 14:39 of the second interval. However the Islanders did not get something on the next energy play, and as time wound down within the interval, the Kings’ Andreas Athanasiou beat Semyon Varlamov with a wrist shot from an acute angle alongside the left boards, lifting the puck previous the goalie’s glove to double Los Angeles’ result in 2-0 with 5.1 seconds to go till intermission.
“I’m sure Varly would like to have one back tonight at the end of the period,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz mentioned. “Those are a bit deflating. You’re down one puck, now you’re down two pucks with a few seconds to go.”
That resulted within the Islanders being booed off the ice going into the second intermission. Within the third interval, no less than it couldn’t be mentioned the Islanders lacked possibilities. Within the first 10 minutes alone, Kings goalie Cal Petersen denied Jean-Gabriel Pageau from the slot and Cal Clutterbuck off a centering feed on the doorstep. Each had been grade-A appears.
Barzal lastly acquired one to go in with 2:04 left, changing a wrist shot that made the ultimate rating look nearer. However that was too little, too late.
An empty-netter from Adrian Kempe with 35.5 seconds to go appeared to seal the win for the Kings, however Cizikas scored with 19.3 seconds left so as to add some drama to the affair. Nonetheless, the Islanders got here up brief.
The final 40 minutes had been higher for the Islanders than the primary 20, through which the Kings dominated, holding a 9-3 margin in pictures on aim. Quinton Byfield scored his first profession aim on a wrist shot previous Varlamov at 17:05 of the interval.
Varlamov’s 27 saves regarded good, however there have been two objectives he would have preferred to get again.
Afterwards, the Islanders lamented hitting iron twice — first on a shot by Adam Pelech throughout a two-on-one early within the recreation that discovered the crossbar and later by Robin Salo throughout Lizotte’s penalty — however on the entire, the offense wasn’t there.
“I think tonight it’s a matter of getting pucks to the net, getting traffic there, making it difficult,” Cizikas mentioned. “That’s kinda the way you have to play against that kinda style, that kinda team.”
The ultimate rating was as a lot a mirrored image of the Islanders’ struggles to generate scoring as of anything. They completed the night time with 30 pictures on course. However ending has been their bugaboo all season, and it was once more on Thursday.
Thirty-six video games into the season, the Islanders are 15-15-6, their mediocrity mirrored of their failure to beat a playoff group. There’s nonetheless time to get again in it, however much less and fewer of it every day.