The New York Islanders will try to bounce back from one of their worst losses of the season when they continue their four-game road trip on Saturday night against the Vegas Golden Knights in Las Vegas.
New York suffered just its third shutout loss of the season, a 5-0 defeat against Juuse Saros (31 saves) and the Nashville Predators, to kick off the trip on Thursday night. The five-goal margin equaled the largest loss of the season for Barry Trotz’s squad, matching an 8-3 home loss — also to Nashville — on Dec. 17.
The Islanders fell behind 3-0 in the first period Thursday and trailed 5-0 after two periods as Craig Smith netted his first career hat trick for the Predators.
“We had some players that just were not good today,” Trotz told reporters after the game. “Plain and simple. I was disappointed in our back end, some of our guys that we rely on, some veteran guys, a few forwards as well. It wasn’t a good team effort.”
The trip now continues out west with games against the Golden Knights, at Arizona on Monday, and at Colorado on Wednesday.
“We have to move on from it but we’re going to think about this one,” forward Anders Lee said. “This one stings. It’s just not a good effort, it’s not representative of who we want to be, so we’ll learn from it to be sure. We’ve got to regroup here and figure things out here in the next day and be ready for Vegas.”
The Golden Knights were in a similar situation heading into Thursday night’s 6-5 overtime victory over St. Louis. Vegas had been blanked at Minnesota, 4-0, two nights earlier but bounced back to snap a four-game home losing streak dating back to Jan. 7.
Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals — including the game-winner in overtime — Max Pacioretty had two goals and an assist, and Mark Stone finished with four assists to become the first player in franchise history to record multiple outings with four or more points.
“I thought our best players were our best players tonight and I thought all of our top-six forwards were all excellent,” said Vegas coach Peter DeBoer. “The other night, our group had an off night. They responded and really led the way for us.”
The Golden Knights, who entered the contest with just one goal on their last 18 power-play chances, went 4-for-5 with the extra man against the Blues and finished the game with 52 shots on goal.
“I thought we put a lot of pressure on them in their own end,” DeBoer said. “We poured a lot of pucks and bodies at them to the net, which is a formula for success against a team like that.”
It will be the second game of a five-game homestand for Vegas, which also is in a stretch that sees them play nine of 10 games at T-Mobile Arena. The Golden Knights, who were an outstanding 53-22-7 in their first two seasons at home, improved to 15-10-4 at T-Mobile this season but have been outscored 98-97 there.
“I think as a team we’re trying to be successful at home,” Marchessault said. “We’re not necessarily getting the results we wanted. Right now, we have a nice homestand and it’s time to make a statement here.”
This is the second of two regular-season meetings between the two teams with New York winning the first one 3-2 in overtime on a Ryan Pulock goal on Dec. 5 in Uniondale, N.Y.
“We had a good game with Vegas when they came to Long Island so hopefully we can have another good one,” said center Mathew Barzal. “It should be a battle.”
–Field Level Media