Islanders Top Shelf: The Uh, What? Edition: 12/28/14

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The New York Islanders began play after the Christmas break last night with a game against the lowest scoring team in the National Hockey League, the Buffalo Sabres.

And they proceeded to allow three third period goals in a span of five minutes, which led to an eventual 4-3 shootout loss – their first loss in extra time this season.

While the Islanders are still 23-11-1 and very much in the thick of the Eastern Conference race – trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins by only two points and even in games played – the signs of the past three weeks are alarming.

Inconsistent play marred by now three blown three-goal leads on separate occasions – to the Wild, Blues and now Sabres – means New York needs to mentally get back to the grind that the 82 game season has become.

The good and bad of last night are clear. John Tavares was in beast mode, his line feeding on the young Buffalo defense to the tune of two points for each of the captain, Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey. Nick Leddy finally got the defense back on the scoresheet with a first period goal.

The worst was the lackluster play of the defense after starting the third period up 3-0. Kevin Poulin was Ok but not nearly good enough on 2 of those goals which by all accounts, seemed very preventable. And don’t even get me started on the power play. Even with new personnel, it still could not get anything going when most needed.

In any event, it’s back to the drawing board once again with a huge divisional game coming up tomorrow night at home against the Washington Capitals.

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