It was not long ago that the New York Islanders looked like they would be contenders in the NHL playoffs, but they are now officially out of the postseason hunt with only a handful of game remaining in the regular season. It would be easy for Doug Weight’s team to give up after a disappointing season, but they are determined to finish strong. Developing the young players and working as a cohesive unit on defense is all this team needs to do to become playoff contenders next year. The Islanders got their first chance to gain some momentum for next year when they faced the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, March 27.
Tuesday’s game really picked up in the middle of the first period after the opening minutes were rather quiet. New York capitalized on a Zack Smith hooking penalty with a power play goal from Anders Lee to open the scoring. The Islanders peppered the net with shots, but they let the Senators back in the game when Scott Mayfield was charged with a careless cross checking penalty. Matt Duchene recorded his 24th goal of the season on the power play to tie the game. Ottawa took the lead for the first time when Erik Karlsson’s shot found the back of the net late in the period.
Ottawa had all of the momentum entering the second period, but that did not stop the Islanders from quickly getting back into the game. It only took New York 83 seconds to get the game even on Anthony Beauvillier’s 17th goal of the season. New York uncharacteristically had trouble generating offense for most of the second period, but they stayed in the game by playing excellent defense. Their patience on offense finally paid off when Brock Nelson gave them a 3-2 lead shortly before the second intermission.
It took roughly 10 minutes for the third period to open up after a cautious start. The Islanders squandered an opportunity to extend their lead with an extra attacker on the power play halfway through the period, but they did a great job on the penalty kill a few minutes later. Unfortunately, the Islanders gave up the lead shortly after their excellent performance down one skater. New York did not get discouraged after surrendering the lead for the second time. Andrew Ladd was the hero with the game-winning goal to give the Islanders a 4-3 victory over Ottawa.