Isles Powerplay Rolls, Defense Spoils in Loss to Nashville

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 30: New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) and left wing Matt Martin (17) talk during the NHL game between the Nashville Predators and New York Islanders, held on October 30, 2021, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The New York Islanders lost to the Nashville Predators on Saturday, by a score of 3-2 in a shootout. The Islanders played two solid periods of hockey but lost control of the game and the lead in the third period. The Islanders’ offense consistently tested Predators’ goalie Juuse Saros, converting on two powerplay goals. However, the Islanders took their foot off the gas and a turnover in their own zone tied the game at two. After a pedestrian overtime, the Islanders were shut out in the shootout by Saros. After six days of rest, here are the takeaways from the Isles loss in Nashville

The Powerplay was Productive

Both Islander goals were scored via the powerplay, going 2-4 on the day. The first goal came at 14:46 into the first period. The Islanders made quick work of setting up Anthony Beauviller on the right faceoff dot. First, Barzal initiates the play by making his way behind the net. The Predators’ penalty kill collapsed in front of Saros and Barzal found Bailey to the left of the slot. Bailey’s pass to Beauvillier created the one-time shot. It happened fast, it was efficient, it looked good.

The second powerplay goal was scored by Oliver Wahlstrom with just under eight minutes left in the second. This time, Brock Nelson set up the goal by weaving his way around the slot. The Predators’ defense closed in on him, but he connected on a cross-ice pass to Wahlstrom, who blasted the puck home.

Overall, the Islanders’ powerplay looked completely structured. Barzal and Nelson quarterbacking the extra-man attack was strange, but they moved with the puck and broke the Predators’ penalty kill.

Chara and the Defense Struggle

Zdeno Chara didn’t have his best game. He took two bad penalties, one in the third that eventually led to a goal. Coming out of the box Chara went on defense but lost his stick during a scrum along the wall. Captain Anders Lee gave his stick to Chara, but the team couldn’t get back into the shooting lanes. Tanner Jeannot scored the game-tying goal with 8:12 left in the third.

Chara has taken his time getting into mid-season form. He got caught up ice multiple times during the game. The 44-year old, 6’9 d-man isn’t exactly the fastest on ice, and his lack of speed hurts when the opposing team dumps the punk into the Islanders’ zone.

Ryan Pulock also made a few blunders. The biggest was in overtime when the other two Islander skates got off the ice to go for a change. Pulock was charged by the Predators’ forecheck, causing him to cough up the puck inside his own zone. A tired Barzal raced to break up the play that was ultimately saved by Sorokin. The Islanders became really loose in the third period. They had sloppy turnovers in the neutral zone and seemed tired throughout the five-minute overtime period.

When asked about how overtime was played in previous seasons, coach Barry Trotz said that the strategy had to change because of the personnel.

“You look at our 3-on-3 over the past couple years and there is a Leddy or a Toews, just because they have the ability to get separation. We don’t really have lots of that, but we still have one or two guys” Trotz said during the post-game press conference.

Nick Leddy was traded to the Detriot Red Wings this offseason to create more salary cap room. Devon Toews was traded during the 2019-20 offseason to the Colorado Avalance.

“[Leddy] was one of the best, Ledds is probably the fastest in the Nation Hockey League,” he said

Related: Islanders Shine in Back-to-Back Shutout Wins

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