The New York Islanders gave up a 3-2 second period lead in what was eventually a 6-4 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Monday.
That marks five straight losses to begin the month of February for the Islanders. In a shortened 48-game schedule, five straight losses, even if early in the season, can prove costly.
“It feels weird to say the next game’s a must-win,” Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic told Long Island Newsday.
“We’ve got to look at it that way. We have to make sure we stop this.”
The Islanders’ losing skid followed up on wins over the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins – the number one and five teams, respectively, in the Eastern Conference.
If there was one positive for the Islanders, it was the four power play goals they tallied.
“We’re the type of team that needs all 20 guys going, and we didn’t have that tonight…I thought some guys were soft,” Islanders head coach Jack Capuano told NHL.com.
“We’ve got to find a way 5-on-5 to generate some offense. Our power play was good, but it’s not going to be there every day.”
Jiri Tlusty tallied four points – all coming in the third period – for Carolina. He tied the game at three goals apiece and added the insurance marker into an empty net with 11 seconds remaining.
“We find a way to (get) the points, which is a big key for our team and we have to keep it rolling,” Tlusty told the Raleigh-based News and Observer.
“Our third period has been really strong. We came out really hard tonight (in the third) and wore the D down. That was the plan.”
You know a playoff series is starting to rev up when teams can’t even peacefully share an ice surface during warm-ups.
The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to draw a red line in the sand between each other before Game 3, with the two sides exchanging a couple bumps and mean looks.
It’s … honestly a pretty amusing spectacle.
You can watch it all in the video above. Perhaps this GIF will fuel a meme or two:
Brian Boyle downplayed the exchange(s):
The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled tough guys Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy from the AHL on Tuesday.
This move makes a sense for a couple of reasons.
Most clearly, things are getting nasty between the Penguins and Washington Capitals, so Pittsburgh is bringing in a couple of brutes. Each player isn’t shy about piling up penalty minutes, whether that be in the NHL or AHL.
The other reason: with injuries and Kris Letang‘s suspension, Oleksy could provide some depth. Justin Schultz is motivated to prove himself, yet Oleksy provides a little insurance.
Is it the ideal scenario in a big playoff game? Nope, but if brute force ends up being a factor, the Penguins added some muscle.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the series lead for the first time against the New York Islanders, who are trying to regain the advantage on home ice at the Barclays Center after a split in Tampa Bay. You can catch Game 3 between these teams on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Strome saga continues, will be a healthy scratch for Game 3
Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon
Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.
“We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.
The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.
Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.
He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.
In March, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule outlined above should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.
Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016