Islanders annihilated by defensive battles on their own end

Noah Dobson sat stoically with his arms crossed, following another missed opportunity for the islanders in a seemingly endless line of them.

This one in that they fell 4-3 to the Canucks on Thursday night at the UBS Arena, there was an inability to get the puck out of their defending zone. The islanders have been hemmed in too often and for too long. Vancouver ended the night with 38 shots, and it only took them four to find the back of the net to walk away with the win.

“We’ve just got to try to find that effort where we run well for a full 60,” Dobson said.

Kyle Palmieri pointed to the way the Canucks cycled the puck as the reason for the Islanders’ seizures.

“It wasn’t just the same turn cycle,” Palmieri said. “You moved it a lot. That makes it pretty difficult to defend yourself.”

Palmieri cited the example of JT Miller’s goal in the second period, when Miller deflected a shot from Brock Boeser cleanly past Semyon Varlamov. When Quinn Hughes came down the wall and was replaced by another man on the bike, the islanders’ structure was destroyed.

Noah Dobson tries to keep the puck away from Brock Boeser during the Islanders' 4-3 loss to the Canucks.
Noah Dobson tries to keep the puck away from Brock Boeser during the Islanders’ 4-3 loss to the Canucks.

“They could shoot sticks,” Palmieri said. “It’s like I said, it’s a lot of movement. Sometimes it’s hard to defend yourself. We obviously didn’t defend all that well tonight.”

Although the islanders have coped well with Zdeno Chara’s absence since he sustained an upper-body injury against the Kings on Saturday, his imposing presence has been missed.

Chara isn’t one to envision a puck-moving defender at this point, but his 6’9 stature and sheer physical ability can still help stop that puck move.

“He has the ability to close guys fast and then the puck stops,” Dobson said. “We definitely miss him.”

Kieffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom both played less than 10 minutes Thursday when Islanders coach Barrydios decided to double-delay Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brock Nelson to avoid playing Josh Bailey in the middle.

Despite said he agreed to a no-call in what appeared to be a trip from Travis Hamonic to Sebastian Aho that led to Brad Hunt’s goal in the second period.

Mathew Barzal and Chara missed their third straight games on Thursday through injury. Both referred to defiance as commonplace. Islanders annihilated by defensive battles on their own end


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