The New York Islanders saw leads of 2-0 and 4-3 evaporate as they fell to the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night at Barclays Center. Richard Panik broke a 4-4 tie with 6:13 left in regulation time to give Chicago the victory. It was the third consecutive loss for an Islanders team that continues to struggle to clear pucks out of its own zone and on special teams.
Three of Chicago’s five goals in this game came with the extra attacker, and a pair of foolish penalties in the first period after the Isles took a 2-0 lead allowed the Blackhawks to get right back into the game just when it looked as though the Islanders were in control.
Andrew Ladd opened the scoring with a good goal from in close after an aggressive forecheck and two pinpoint passes set up the scoring chance. Ladd made no mistake against his former team and the Islanders led 1-0 just 2:14 into the game.
The Islanders led 2-0 just 1:34 later on Casey Cizikas’ fourth goal of the season.
But the momentum of the game turned when Cizikas took an unnecessary roughing penalty later in the opening period when responding to a hard but clean hit. The Blackhawks cashed in on the ensuing power play when Artemi Panarin scored on a one-timer off a great cross-ice pass by Brent Seabrook.
The Blackhawks tied the game at 2-2 on their second chance with the extra attacker when they completed four precise passes that set up Artem Anisimov for an easy tap-in past Isles starter Thomas Greiss.
Marian Hossa gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead as the Islanders continued to fall victim to Chicago’s cross-ice passes that set up quality scoring chances for the visitors. The even-strength goal gave the Blackhawks their first lead of the game at 14:08 of the opening period.
The Islanders took only 1:12 to respond and even up this wide-open affair. Ryan Strome’s shot from just inside the blueline deflected off a Chicago player’s stick and changed direction to beat Scott Darling and tie the game at 3-3. It was Strome’s third tally of the season and his first since Oct. 21, a stretch of 2o games without a goal.
The Islanders quickly regained the lead just 22 seconds into the second period. Anders Lee was able to deflect Travis Hamonic’s shot from the right point downwards and past Darling to give the Islanders a 4-3 advantage.
The second period was the Isles best of the game, but despite outshooting the Blackhawks 14-7, they were unable to add to their one-goal lead.
Then, the Islanders penalty kill failed to protect the lead yet again. Panarin ripped a hard shot home from the left circle 19:41 to tie the game at 4-4. It was the third power-play goal allowed by the Islanders in three chances.
Both teams grew a bit more cautious in the third period and the game became tighter early on. As the period progressed, however, the Blackhawks’ superior puck possession started to wear the Islanders down.
It finally paid off when Richard Panik scored from the slot at 13:47 to give Chicago a 5-4 lead. Dennis Rasmussen set the play up with a pass from behind the net.
The Islanders looked tired late in the game and failed to produce many scoring threats in the final minutes. This frustrating loss was more of the same problems on defense and special teams that have plagued this team throughout the season.
NYI – Andrew Ladd (4) assisted by Alan Quine and Jason Chimera
NYI – Casey Cizikas (4) assisted by Nikolay Kulemin
CHI – Artemi Panarin PPG (12) assisted by Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith
CHI – Artem Anisimov PPG (14) assisted by Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin
CHI – Marian Hossa (16) assisted by Ryan Hartman and Jonathan Toews
NYI – Ryan Strome (3) assisted by Brock Nelson and Johnny Boychuk
NYI – Anders Lee (9) Assisted by Travis Hamonic and John Tavares
CHI – Artemi Panarin PPG (13) assisted by Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith
CHI – Richard Panik (8) assisted by Dennis Rasmussen and Marcus Kruger
THW Three Stars
First: Artemi Panarin (2 goals, 1 assist)
Second: Duncan Keith (2 assists)
Third: Richard Panik (GWG)
New York Islanders vs. Buffalo Sabres
First Niagara Center – 7:00 PM EST on Friday, Dec. 16
Broadcast Channels: MSG-Plus and MSG-Buffalo
2016-17 Season Series: First matchup of the season
Long time hockey writer and author of the new book, “Ice Wars: The Complete History of New York’s Greatest Modern Sports Rivalry.” It tells the story behind every game between the Rangers and Islanders dating back to 1972 and features profiles of more than 80 players from both teams and quotes from more than 50 exclusive interviews from players, coaches and broadcasters from both teams.