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Second-place Isles blanked by Boston

Receive “wake-up call” during brutal 5-0 home loss to Bruins

March 20, 2019 JT Torenli
Robin Lehner and his dejected teammates were dominated from start to finish during Tuesday night’s 5-0 loss to Boston in front of a disappointed sellout crowd in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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This isn’t the way the New York Islanders want to go about preparing for the franchise’s first playoff appearance in three years.

“We got it handed to us pretty good tonight,” veteran forward Matt Martin lamented following the Islanders’ ugly 5-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in front of a disappointed sellout crowd of 13,917 at the renovated Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night.

“It was a bit of a wake-up call,” Martin added.

It had better be.

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After winning five of their previous seven games to climb back to the top of the Metropolitan Division standings, the Isles looked like a team going through the motions en route to the arguably their worst overall performance during Barry Trotz’s first season as head coach.

New York got outshot by a whopping 39-13, en route to its seventh consecutive loss against Boston and eighth straight on home ice. The Isles also got punished physically by the seemingly more game Bruins as veterans Cal Clutterbuck and Valtteri Filppula were both forced to leave the ice with upper-body injuries.

To his credit, Martin tried to get the Isles going by taking on hulking Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara at the drop of the puck to start the second period. But New York never responded to the one-sided fight, which saw Martin on the receiving end of several crushing punches.

“They played a playoff-type game tonight,” Isles captain Anders Lee said. “They were heavy, they were strong. We were making mistakes from the start, fumbling here and there with the puck and they capitalized on those opportunities.”

Robin Lehner returned to man the net for New York after being out since March 5 with an apparent concussion. Though the team’s primary goaltender stopped all but one of the 14 shots the Bruins fired at him through the opening 20 minutes, the Isles never provided him with anything resembling offensive support.

“By no means we feel that this is acceptable,” veteran forward Josh Bailey said. “Tonight, obviously wasn’t to the level that we’ve set for ourselves. I think when those things happen you need to talk about it and learn from it and turn the page and still remember that we do have a good, quality team in here.”

That team had better be ready to get off to a good start Thursday night in Montreal as the Isles fell back into second place in the Metro with Tuesday’s loss, two points behind defending Stanley Cup champion Washington.

New York is also just two points clear of surging Pittsburgh in the division and seven points ahead of Columbus, the Eastern Conference’s second and final wild card.

“All in all it was a frustrating night from start to finish,” Martin said. “None of us played well. I think you kind of scrap it. Remember it but scrap it.”

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