UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Islanders ended their three-game homestand with a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. James Neal scored four times against the Islanders and Zack Kassian was the Oilers’ other goal scorer.
Semyon Varlamov was chased from the net after 28:46 of work and 15 saves on 19 shots. Thomas Greiss finished the game and made seven saves on eight shots.
Anthony Beauvillier and Matt Martin had the Islanders’ only goals of the night.
Below are three takeaways from the loss:
It was an ugly effort from the Islanders
Barry Trotz may have said it best after the game, the Islanders gave the Oilers too much space to work with. And it was an all-around sloppy effort by New York in their third game of the season.
The Islanders turned over the puck 25 times in the 5-2 loss to Edmonton and took 10 minutes worth of penalty time, including six in the first period alone by Brock Nelson.
Aside from a shorthanded goal from Beauvillier, the Islanders never seemed to get their offense going and they left their starter Semyon Varlamov out to dry.
“We weren’t heavy at all,” Anders Lee said about the Islanders’ game. “When you’re chasing the puck and you’re a step behind. We weren’t able to get in on them to play that type of game. They took advantage of that and worked it pretty good.”
One of the more damming comments came from Trotz as he answered the first question from reporters. “The only two things we did, for the most part, tonight was win faceoffs and turn pucks over,” Trotz finished his answer with.
Brock Nelson needs to stay out of the penalty box
It’s a pretty obvious statement after Tuesday night and Brock Nelson recorded his second game with two trips to the sin bin the same period. Nelson took six minutes worth of penalties in the first — An interference call at 13:10 and a high sticking double minor at 18:42 — which did cost the Islanders a goal.
Nelson’s two trips to the box in the second period of Friday’s season opener against Washington also cost his team a goal on that night.
The 27-year-old was scantly seen in the second period as Trotz kept the forward on the bench. It was quite clear why the Islander bench boss opted to do so.
“He’s a top player and he has to play top minutes against good people, and be productive,” Trotz said. “He can’t be productive when he took six minutes of penalties in the first period. That’s not helping. He let everybody else play for a while.”
Nelson wasn’t the only Islander to take a penalty in the loss and the team finished with 10 minutes worth of penalties, but the James Neal power-play goal while Nelson was in the box gave the Oilers their first lead of the night.
Things only got worse from there and Edmonton added another power-play goal later in the game.
“Give up a couple on the PK is just tough,” Lee said. “It puts us behind. … Just kills our moment sometimes I think. We’ll get our PK going here where it’s not an issue.”
He added: “Having been in the box as much as we have been it’s just been going against us.”
Changes could be coming
Trotz was not happy with the way the Islanders played on Tuesday night (rightfully so) and tinkered with some of the line combinations as the game went on.
Early in the third, Trotz had Anthony Beauvillier with Mathew Barzal and Michael Dal Colle. He also put out Josh Bailey with Nelson and Leo Komarov.
At one point Derick Brassard was on a line with Lee and Jordan Eberle. And when he was asked about it after the game, Trotz certainly indicated he would be open to making some line changes going forward.
“Right now I’m considering a lot of changes with guys who have been working hard,” Trotz said. “I just don’t like our starts. Our starts have to be better. The first three games our starts have not been good. That has to be better. You can’t come out slow and rely on your goaltender to keep you in it until you get going.”