The New York Islanders had a much better showing in Game 2 but still fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning, up 2-0 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Final series.
The Isles played a stronger game all-around, leagues better than their 8-2 loss in Game 1. One area the team wasn’t happy with was one that was out of their control: the penalties.
A total of 41 penalty minutes were handed out in the game, 28 of those called on the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Fifteen of those minutes came on a boarding call to Lightning forward Alex Killorn that saw him get ejected from the game. Killorn was given a major for boarding Islanders winger Brock Nelson, along with a game misconduct.
“Obviously, we didn’t love the [first] hit on [Nelson], the refs made the right call,” said New York’s Matt Martin.
The Isles failed to score on the five-minute power play, mustering only five shots on goal during the man-advantage.
After returning to the game, Nelson was cross-checked in the back of the head by Tampa’s Barclay Goodrow. No penalty was called on the play.
“We didn’t like the cheap shot, cross-check to his head either,” added Martin. “Unfortunately, it is what it is. They missed that one.”
#Isles Brock Nelson should not have played another minute after this.
Don’t @ me. pic.twitter.com/cwQUsutnc0
— Here’s Your Replay ⬇️ (@TheReplayGuy) September 10, 2020
New York head coach Barry Trotz was equally displeased with the stickwork on Nelson.
“I just thought that was a target at the head,” Trotz said. “They knew he was hurt, they targeted him a little bit. The league handles it, they look at it thoroughly.”
Goodrow was not penalized on the play, nor did Player Safety take any action upon review to levy a fine or suspension.
The referees weren’t the only ones to face the ire of the Isles’ bench boss. An icing call that led to the Lightning’s first goal was also questioned by Trotz.
“On their first goal, we were sure that they tipped it and it shouldn’t have been an icing call,” Trotz said. “That’s why our bench was so upset.”
Rule 81.5 applies to this call:
If the puck touches any part of a player of the opposing side, including his skates or his stick, or if it touches any part of the opposing team’s goalkeeper, including his skates or his stick, at any time before or after crossing the goal line, it shall not be considered icing.
Replays were unclear in showing whether Tampa’s Kevin Shattenkirk may have made contact with the puck prior to it crossing the goal line. In any case, icings are not eligible for video review, nor coach’s challenges.
Still, despite their challenges, the Islanders held on, giving up the game-winning goal in the final nine seconds of the game.
One break, one lucky bounce, one power play goal – or more – may have made all the difference.
“There’s going to be things that are missed, not called,” said Trotz. “You have to play through it. That’s playoff hockey. We win the faceoff, we’re not even talking about [the icing call].”
Referees for the game were Kelly Sutherland and Steve Kozari. Linesmen were Scott Cherrey and Kiel Murchison.
The Isles trail 2-0 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Final. Game 3 is Friday.