COLUMBUS, Ohio — Kyle Palmieri didn’t mince words.
“[We] didn’t really come ready to play,” he said following the Islanders’ disappointing 5-4 overtime defeat Friday night to the last-place Blue Jackets.
After the Islanders put themselves in a 4-2 hole through the first two periods, and needed to scratch and claw to leave Columbus with a point, it’s hard to argue with that assessment.
“We know the importance of every game down the stretch here,” Palmieri said. “Not sure [what happened]. Things were just sloppy. Weren’t moving our feet. Weren’t able to really generate any speed through the neutral zone or coming out of our zone.
“It ends up being slow and kind of on our heels, chipping pucks out to them with no pressure. Then you kinda sit back and they find a way to get through. They found a way to capitalize in our D-zone.”
Despite a two-day layoff following their victory over the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, the Islanders didn’t find the requisite level of intensity until the third period against a Columbus team beset with injuries and at the bottom of the standings.
The shot totals were in their favor, but that didn’t tell the whole story.
The Islanders couldn’t get their forecheck going and struggled to move the puck cleanly in the defensive zone.
The Blue Jackets broke them down for four goals in the second period, with a fifth wiped off for goaltender interference after a successful challenge from Islanders coach Lane Lambert.
After a three-game win streak in which the Islanders made opponents play at their tempo, they were playing into the Blue Jackets’ hands.
“You’d like to try and get to your game right away and dictate the pace,” Brock Nelson said. “We maybe weren’t able to do that right away through the first two. But in the third is kinda more what we were looking for.”
Indeed, the game did flip in the third — enough to save a point, but not enough to get two.
“We saw it a little bit, the little pockets that were successful and found ways to be successful,” Palmieri said. “We had the recipe, we just had to execute and play fast and on our toes.”
On the front end of a back-to-back with just a 22-hour turnaround, Lane Lambert went with Ilya Sorokin in net.
Asked whether there was any chance of Sorokin, who stopped 22 of 27 shots, playing on Saturday against the Sabres, Lambert shut down the line of questioning.
“We’re not even gonna talk about that right now,” he said.
Alexander Romanov played Friday without a face shield for the first time since prior to the All-Star break, notching 19:53 with three hits and three shots on net.