Islanders Get Raked By The Leafs, 4-3 In Over Time
Well if there is one thing that can be taken away from the Islanders home-and-home series with the Toronto Maple Leafs, it's that the Leafs' entire roster should be considered as finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy that is handed out to the most disciplined player at this year's NHL Awards Ceremony.
Although the whistle was blown against the Leafs after a scuffle in their end erupted after a tussle between Travis Hamonic and Phil Kessel, not once did the Islanders earn a power play tonight to total 120 minutes of hockey without an Islanders man-advantage going back to last night. The Leafs managed to beat the Islanders 4-3 in over time to complete the two-game sweep. (Travis Hamonic bridgetds/Flickr)
John Tavares opened up the scoring less than two minutes into tonight's game as Kyle Okposo dug the puck out from behind the Leafs net to find JT on one knee in the slot, putting the puck home behind Johan Gustavsson, starting for the second night in a row. Dylan Reese picked up the other assist.
The lead would hold into the second period and then increase after Josh Bailey scored a shorthanded goal while sliding on his back. Matt Martin carried the puck through the neutral zone and skated past the Leafs defender to find Bailey streaking up the middle. The goal would appear as an insurance marker, but Clarke MacArthur would cut the lead in half just before the final minute of the middle frame.
The Leafs would tie the game at the 1:47 mark of the third period with a goal from Jake Gardiner, his first of the year. Gardiner would wrist the puck from the blue line as a Leafs forward was practically sitting in Al Montoya's crease, keeping the Isles keeper down on the ice. The goal stood, despite the Islanders efforts to challenge the call made by the on-ice official.
Mikael Grabovski would score his 16th of the year as well as his third point out of four on the night in the final five minutes of the period to give the Leafs a 3-2 lead, appearing to be the nail in the coffin of the Leaf's comeback. This goal also came after Andrew MacDonald took a stick to the face, forcing the Isles medical trainer to attend to him on the ice.
This image was taken by Riley MacVicar (@rileymac83) and was upload via Twitter. You can see clearly that MacDonald was taking a stick to the face, which occurred right in front of the Islanders net. But yet, there was no call.
There were several calls and high sticks that were missed against the Islanders. One play involved John Tavares at the end of the second period as he was run into by Phil Kessel behind the Leafs net. The replay showed that some part of Kessel caught Tavares up high, causing him to go down on the ice and take a few seconds to get back into the play. The ref was standing right in the corner and didn't make a call.
"I saw it last second, I just got my hands up," said Tavares in reference to the collision. "I just shake my head at that really, I don't get it."
And after the period ended, Tavares didn't receive an explanation of why the refs arm never went up.
"No, I mean, I was pretty heated obviously, but you know I thought that he was there, I thought he saw it. I don't know, it just didn't make a whole lot of sense. I guess he didn't see it as a penalty."
Tavares began to open up a bit more about the style of the two games that were played between both clubs and how it just baffled him how his squad couldn't get any power play time two nights in a row. (John Tavares valorfaerie/Flickr)
"Especially last night wasn't as chippy as it was tonight and it was a little bit more of a, I felt like it was more of a trap kind of game and there wasn't much room out there. Not very physical but guys were in the right lanes, sticks in the right areas and they just took time and space away. But you see there was [tonight] a lot going on, there was a lot of sticks everywhere, there was a lot of intensity, a lot of emotion. We thought we worked hard and made some strong efforts. Obviously if they don't feel there's any penalties then there's no penalties. We got to try and stay focused on the task at hand and not let it get to us."
And the Islanders did try to do just that as they peppered Gustavsson up until the final buzzer, but P.A. Parenteau would tie the game with just 12 seconds remaining. The puck would take a weird hop off the boards, (the Coliseum carom finally worked in the Isles favor, courtesy of The Hockey Gods), and Parenteau was easily able to fire home his tenth of the year as it would land on his tape as he was standing right in front of the Leafs net.
But MacArthur would add to his night's goal total with the overtime winner after he completed a nice give-and-go play with Grabovski. The two of them skated in on a 2-on-1 rush with defenseman Mark Streit caught in the Leafs zone. Montoya would appear to make the save of the year, catching it in his glove. but to the Islanders dismay, the replay showed that the puck completely crossed the goal line despite the nice catch.
"No, I knew it went in," said Montoya in reference to the close save. It was his first game back after missing about a month of playing time recovering from a concussion.
"It's good to be back with the team, being able - I wish I could have contributed a little bit more tonight," said Montoya. "But it was an odd game for me. I felt pretty good after a month off, but it seemed like every goal that went in was, there was a bounce on their side so it's one I'll have to look at, but the team did a great job tonight."
The team did play well and did show resiliency throughout the game. Yet it almost seemed impossible to avoid discussion of the poor officiating over the past two nights.
"I don't really understand it," said Tavares after the game in regards to that his team had just played two games without a power play.
His teammate Josh Bailey had more to add.
"There's ample amount of times, I mean you don't even have to go looking to find a call. They're right there. I don't know why, I don't know what the reasoning is, but yeah, it's obviously frustrating."
"I don't care how disciplined a team is, there's calls to be had out there. Maybe we could even have gotten a couple more our way, but certainly we could have gotten at least one, not to say that it would have changed the outcome of the game. But it would have been nice to get one, I think."
It's impossible to know if different calls would have changed the outcome of the game, like Bailey stated. However it more than likely would have provided them a few more opportunities to have increased their lead or get the win. But at the end of the day, the Islanders managed to blow a two-goal lead and lose to a team they are jostling for position with in the standings - and they will have plenty of time to think about it over the next seven days.
"We out shot them and we got some good opportunities and they had a couple lucky bounces and we got a bounce there at the end," added Tavares. "So we definitely have to take the point, try and move on and get ready and get some rest and get ready for when we come back."