3 Takeaways From Islanders’ 4-1 Loss vs Kraken

The New York Islanders were looking to start the New Year and their four-game road trip on the right foot. Instead, they were outplayed by the Seattle Kraken from the opening puck drop, losing 4-1. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak but, more importantly, dropped them to sixth place in the Metropolitan Division.

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The Islanders now have a 21-15-2 record on the season. They’ve played well, but this loss was a reminder of their shortcomings and that the team could miss the playoffs if they continue to lose games on the road to weaker competition.

Islanders’ Hapless Offense

The recent game might have been the worst offensive performance of the season for the Islanders. Granted, they’ve been shut out four times and managed to score a goal against the Kraken. However, they only generated 19 shots on net, the lowest total since a 5-3 Dec. 22 loss to the New York Rangers. Additionally, aside from Brock Nelson, who had four shots on goal, no forward on the team had more than two in the game, allowing goaltender Martin Jones to earn an easy win.

Brock Nelson New York Islanders
Brock Nelson, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The offensive struggles can be attributed to a handful of issues. The Islanders looked fatigued from the first period, and injuries are starting to affect the forward unit. Without Cal Clutterbuck, Kyle Palmieri, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Simon Holmstrom, the offense is starting to fall apart. The offense has only scored three goals in the last two games and suddenly looks like the main issue that could derail a promising season unless head coach Lane Lambert finds a way to turn things around.

Sorokin Can Only Do So Much

Ilya Sorokin had a great night in net and kept this game close, facing 34 shots and making 31 saves. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to help the Islanders win the game as the offense fell flat, and the Kraken eventually pulled away with the victory. Moreover, none of the goals allowed could be blamed on Sorokin – all were from open shots, missed assignments in the defensive zone, and second-chance shots with him out of position.

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The previous three games saw Sorokin carry the Islanders to victories, allowing three goals and 62 saves. He’s putting together a Vezina Trophy-caliber campaign with a .926 save percentage and a 2.26 goals-against average (GAA) on 775 shots and is the main reason for the team’s success. However, this game showed that he might be able to keep his team in a game, but he can’t single-handedly lead them to victory.

Barzal Nets One Home

After struggling to find the back of the net at the beginning of the season, Mathew Barzal has become the team’s best goal scorer. With four goals in three games, he now has nine on the season, which ranks fifth on the team. In the 4-1 loss to the Kraken, Barzal was the one bright spot, scoring the team’s only goal on a Casey Cizikas centering pass.

Mathew Barzal New York Islanders
Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The goal was significant for Barzal. Growing up in Coquitlam, British Columbia, and playing for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL) before joining the Islanders, the game against the Kraken was a homecoming for him. Appropriately, it was his 400th NHL game, and he scored his 100th career goal in front of family and friends.

Other Takeaways From the Islanders’ Loss

  • Noah Dobson led all skaters with 23:39 of ice time, blocked three shots, and generated four shots on net in the losing effort. While he was on the ice for three of the four goals, he was one of the defensemen that helped keep the Islanders competitive in the game.
  • Aatu Raty played in his fourth NHL game but played a minimal role with only 7:59 ice time.
  • The Kraken gashed the Islanders from the point, with Adam Larsson, Jamie Oleksiak, and Vince Dunn combining for a goal and three assists in the game.

What’s Next for the Islanders

The Islanders continue their Pacific Division road trip with a game on Jan. 3 against the Vancouver Canucks. They then head to Alberta to face the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames. They beat the Oilers and Flames earlier in the season, but both teams are looking to even up the season series.

The Islanders need to come away with two or more wins on the road trip to keep their promising season alive. With Metropolitan Division opponents piling up wins, they need to keep up and string together some wins.

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