Controversial Penalty On Pelech Leads To Game 3 Loss for Islanders

Bri Repetto

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After just coming back to tie the game in the second period on a goal by Cal Clutterbuck, the New York Islanders found themselves in a costly position. Adam Pelech was skating into his own zone alongside Nikita Kucherov when Pelech bumped into him, seemingly not out of the ordinary, just the usual body contact. However, referee Eric Furlatt thought otherwise. Blowing the whistle he called Pelech for interference which leads Tampa’s one and only power play of the game.

As the clock wound down for both the penalty and the period, Pelech was out of the box for just a few mere seconds before Brayden Point knocked the puck in while being down on the ice. Unfortunately for the Islanders, they could not recover from the deficit once it was established. 

“At the end of the day, it was a pretty even game, you know they just capitalized on a chance on a sort of a scramble at the end of the power play so,” said head coach, Barry Trotz, in a postgame interview on MSG Networks. “You know it is a fine line from winning and losing. You get a save here or you get a dirty puck around the net and it rattles off someone and goes into the net and you can be on the winning side as well.” 

Obviously, there is still some fault to the Isles defense for not managing to Tampa’s offense. The loss can’t be fully placed on the power-play goal. There were many times throughout the game that the Islanders’ offense had opportunities. They finished with 28 shots on goal, just three more than what Tampa recorded; therefore they had room to take the game back. Mathew Barzal had a few chances of his own in the second period, but he just couldn’t find the back of the net. Anthony Beauvillier, also struggling in this series, has yet to fully step up and gain some recognition on the stats sheet as well to aid New York. 

“He’s a good player, obviously they’re playing him real tight…right now I think Beau has to find a way to fight more inches,” said Trotz. 

The fact of the matter is, bad calls mixed with missed opportunities lead to a losing outcome. I have said before the importance of making the most of everything the Isles are offered, which includes power plays. They once again failed tonight to convert on a man advantage and could not tie the game at two to make up for their one call. 

Looking ahead at Game 4, they are down in the series 2-1. They did well compared to game two on keeping their penalties to a minimum, but it still proved to be destructive towards their game. It is tough when a player like Pelech gets called for something as soft as he did in Game 3. Some say it was interference because it caused Kucherov to stumble without the puck and others say it was simply just two players making contact with each other. Looking back on it, if something like that can be called, then there are a lot of other plays on the ice that occur that could have, and should have been a penalty as well. It wasn’t much of a penalty, and Furlatt could have made a better call.

“When I look at it, yea I don’t think there was much there at all,” said Trotz.

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