Earlier today we talked about how the New York Islanders wanted to stop blowing 2-0 leads and close out games. Sure enough, they did neither of those things against the St. Louis Blues this afternoon, but it wasn’t without controversy.
Thomas Vanek scored what he and the Islanders thought was the game-winning goal to salvage the win with 1:15 to go in overtime, only to have it overturned on replay by officials from the NHL War Room in Toronto.
According to the NHL’s Situation Room blog, Vanek kicked the puck past Jaroslav Halak with his left skate. On replay, the only obvious part was that the puck went off Vanek’s skate. Deliberately kicked though? Take a look at the video:
The reaction to the overturned goal around Twitter was strong.
With neither team scoring in the final seconds after the overturned goal, it was off to the shootout where Kevin Shattenkirk completed the Isles collapse beating Kevin Poulin and giving the Blues a 4-3 win.
Of course, how the Islanders got there is part of this story. Again they jumped out to an early 2-0 lead only to have Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko score twice to make it a 2-2 game. Matt Martin put the Isles ahead 3-2 in the third, but T.J. Oshie scored with 27 seconds left in the period to tie it 3-3.
We knew they were having issues finishing games, but that’s rough.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.