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Islanders’ special team problems cost them in the end

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TAMPA — There’s a sort of irony in the fact a shorthanded goal ended the Islanders’ season.

When the joke of the season was that the NHL should implement a new rule that allows teams to decline power plays because the Islanders would surely take advantage of it, a power-play breakdown costing them a win in a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup semifinals was almost too perfect.

After the Islanders started off strong in their second-period power play Friday night, Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh gained possession of the puck and killed some time before finding Blake Coleman at center ice. Anthony Cirelli then carried the puck into the corner of the Islanders’ zone, drawing Nick Leddy, Kyle Palmieri and Josh Bailey with him.

While the three Islanders were preoccupied with Cirelli, Yanni Gourde came off Tampa Bay’s bench. He skated in unnoticed before one-timing a feed from Cirelli past goalie Semyon Varlamov at 1:49 of the middle frame.

“I don’t know if it’s more frustrating,” head coach Barry Trotz said after the season-ending loss. “It’s disappointing because it was an opportunity for us to hopefully do something against them. Just a little bit of awareness. Gourde came off the bench real quick, they made a play, we sort of weren’t paying enough attention and it ended up in the back of the net.”

Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring the only goal in the Islanders' 1-0 season-ending Game 7 loss the Lightning.
Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring the only goal in the Islanders’ 1-0 season-ending Game 7 loss the Lightning.
NHLI via Getty Images

Through 19 games this postseason, the Islanders went 10-for-49 on the power play, a 20.4 percentage. Gourde’s goal was the second shorthanded tally the Islanders allowed in the playoffs, although the first was not nearly as deadly.

After the Islanders were the only team in the league to not allow a shorthanded goal during the regular season, they gave one up in Game 4 of the first-round series against the Penguins. Zach Aston-Reese ended goalie Ilya Sorokin’s bid for a shutout at 17:25 of the third period while killing a Jake Guentzel cross-checking penalty.

The Islanders ranked in the bottom 10 of the league in power-play goals during the regular season, going 27-for-144 (18.8 percent). There were plenty of times when the Islanders had the man advantage, but didn’t look as if they did. Friday night was certainly one of those times.

The Lightning owned one of the deadliest power plays in the regular season and playoffs, combining to go 60-for-233 (25.7 percent). On the other hand, the Islanders particularly struggled with the man-advantage in the semifinal series against Tampa Bay, going 1-for-17. The Islanders’ lone power play came from Brock Nelson in their 4-2 loss in Game 2.

So the Islanders’ special playoff run was ultimately cut short by one of their few weaknesses. That likely doesn’t make it any easier to accept.

“It hurts no matter what,” Josh Bailey said of the Gourde goal, his voice quivering. “That’s a situation we certainly would like to have back.”

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Holly Holm out to show there’s life in UFC after 40

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Back at the beginning of her combat sports career, 20-year-old Holly Holm figured she wouldn’t want to still be fighting at 30.

“I pictured myself having kids doing the whole mom thing,” Holm told The Post over the phone on Wednesday. “Not that you can’t be a mom and fight. I just know, for me at the time, I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I want to be more involved as a mom, not be fighting anymore, going into training camps.’ ”

Holm (14-5, eight finishes) couldn’t have imagined at the time she’d be 40 years old, competing at the highest level — let alone in MMA rather than her first sports: boxing and kickboxing. And yet, here she is, set to headline Saturday’s UFC Fight Night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+) against fellow bantamweight Ketlen Vieira.

Clearly, she adjusted expectations for her career as she went. Racking up welterweight boxing titles left and right by her mid 20s, “there was no way I was gonna retire when I was 30,” she recalls. Thirty came, and 35 became the new “for sure” end point in her mind. Once 35 came: “No way.”

“And I really thought 40 might be closer to the end, but it’s not,” Holm says. “I still feel great, and I feel my last fight is a fight [in which] I showed I’m still evolving. And it’s exciting to me, so I don’t want to stop now.”

Holly Holm
Holly Holm
Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

True enough, Holm’s last appearance was an eye opener. Back in October 2020, the former champion who had knocked the 135-pound crown from Ronda Rousey’s head with a high kick knockout earned a dominant five-round decision against Irene Aldana. 

But that was 19 months ago. Originally to return against Julianna Pena, Holm withdrew due to a cited diagnosis of hydronephrosis, a condition that causes swelling in the kidneys. A return at featherweight was planned against Norma Dumont for last October, but she once again was forced to pull out.

The second withdrawal was due to an issue with her knee, which she downplayed as nothing “extensive.” 

“A lot of people wondered how bad is my knee and things like that,” Holm said. “But I don’t think people realize my biggest injury was when I was 16. And that’s what caused a lot of problems. I’ve been able to go my whole career and people not really know about it. But it kind of caught up a little bit, and so I needed to give it a little extra rest this time. And now, it’s ready to rock and roll.”

When she rocks and rolls this weekend at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, she’ll do so after taking the longest break from competition of her 20-year pro fighting career — boxing from 2000-13, MMA since 2011, with kickboxing sprinkled in.

It wasn’t ideal, being away from what she calls her “passion,” but Holm found several silver linings. She enjoyed the process of remodeling a recently-purchased home, something she believed would have been a challenge in the middle of a fight camp. After knee surgery, she spent two weeks enjoying rare quality time with her mother, watching movies and drinking coffee. A trip to Nashville and some dancing there was a highlight.

Most noteworthy for fight fans since Holm last competed was her announcement as an upcoming inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, which she considers “one of the biggest compliments” for her work in the ring, an honor that understandably exceeds several others she’s received throughout her career.

“I’m always humbled and blessed with any of them, but there is something different about the Boxing Hall of Fame,” Holm said. “That’s not just statewide; that’s worldwide. It’s the best fighters in the world. It’s not just females; it’s all of them. To be able to have my name recognized among household names like Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather, it’s very surreal.”

Enshrinement comes next month, but Holm has more pressing business ahead of her as she faces Vieira (12-2, six finishes), who just earned a decision over Miesha Tate — the woman who took Holm’s title from her six years ago. The matchup carries title implications, with the winner seemingly the only viable challenger after champion Pena’s rematch against Amanda Nunes, the all-time great who lost to Pena in December and still reigns as the UFC featherweight titleholder.

Holm understands the stakes, and she sees Vieira as a real test for her in the cage.

“I think that she is, stylistically, one of the toughest bouts for me, outside of fighting for the championship,” Holm said. “There’s only a couple girls in front of me — you know who they are — and I feel like, outside of that, I think Ketlen is really the toughest opponent for me. 

“I’m really excited, actually, for this challenge. I knew that her and I would eventually meet at some point to fight, so here we are.”

All this, two decades after she figured one probably would be too much. And Holm sees nothing slowing her down in the years to come. Few women have competed at the highest level of MMA into their 40s, although there’s precedent on the men’s side. Randy Couture was the UFC heavyweight champion at 45. Reigning light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira will make his first title defense next month at age 42.

Can Holm, like them, compete several years into her 40s?

“I just might,” she said.

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Shocking images emerge of suspect in deadly bow-and-arrow rampage in Norway

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Shocking footage has emerged of a mentally ill Danish man trying to impale people with a bow and arrow in a rampage that killed five people in Norway.

The footage emerged this week after Andersen Bråthen, 38, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a slew of charges in the terrifying October 2021 attack, including five counts of murder as well as 11 others of attempted murder.

“I admit criminal guilt for the entire charges,” Bråthen told Buskerud District Court at the start of his trial.

“Everything, I admit everything,” he emphasized, according to Agence France-Presse.

The footage shows him stalking through a Co-Op Extra supermarket in Kongsberg and repeatedly firing off arrows at innocent bystanders.

Wearing a white vest and without shoes, he spent at least 15 minutes shooting arrows at people in the supermarket as well as outside — even at people in their homes, the court heard. At least three people were struck by his arrows, including an off-duty police officer.

Bråthen then stabbed to death four women and one man, aged between 52 and 78.

Andersen Bråthen
Andersen Bråthen spent at least 15 minutes shooting arrows at people inside and outside the supermarket.
tv2.no
Arrow attack.
At least three people were struck by his arrows.
tv2.no
Flowers and candles are placed at a memorial.
Andersen Bråthen then stabbed to death four women and one man.
Pal Nordseth/AP

He was arrested more than half an hour after he started the bloody rampage, and investigators seized a number of weapons, including knives, a sword, bows and at least 60 arrows, the court heard.

While Norwegian police had initially suspected it was a terror attack, they soon blamed mental illness, saying that he was in a “strongly deviating state of mind” at the time, charging documents show.

Three forensic psychiatric experts who assessed him concluded he was probably insane at the time of the killings. He has been kept at a psychiatric facility since October.

Police officers cordon off the scene.
Andersen Bråthen was arrested more than half an hour after he started the rampage.
Hakon Mosvold/NTB/AFP via Getty Images
Police cordon off one of the sites where a man killed several people on Wednesday afternoon, in Kongsberg, Norway.
Investigators seized a number of weapons, including knives, a sword, bows and at least 60 arrows.
Pal Nordseth/AP
Andersen Bråthen.
Andersen Bråthen pleaded guilty to five counts of murder as well as 11 others of attempted murder.
AFP via Getty Images

Both the prosecution and the defense argued that he could not be held criminally responsible and advocated a psychiatric commitment rather than a prison sentence.

A trial will decide if he gets prison time or compulsory mental health care. It is expected to last at least a month.

With Post wires

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Washington state gas stations run out of fuel, prep for $10 a gallon

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Gas stations in Washington state are resetting their price boards to accommodate double digits in preparation for fuel prices potentially reaching $10 a gallon, according to a report.

The move comes as several gas stations in the Evergreen State ran out of fuel, The Post Millennial reported.

The 76 Gas Station in Auburn, which lies about 30 miles south of Seattle, gas pumps were reprogrammed so that the display could indicate a price of at least $10 a gallon.

The displays were limited to single digits as recently as March, but the surging price of gas has led to the change.

A 76 spokesperson told The Post Millennial that the change did not necessarily mean that the company was predicting gas prices would reach $10 a gallon.

The gas station in Auburn also sells race fuel, which is more expensive than the fuel that is used by ordinary citizens.

Race fuel costs more due to the high octane, premium fuel that is required to enable the engine to have a higher compression ratio, giving it a more energetic explosion and improving the performance of turbocharger and supercharger engines.

Motorists in the Evergreen State are also reporting that some gas stations have run out of fuel.
Motorists in the Evergreen State are also reporting that some gas stations have run out of fuel.
AP

Washingtonians are also having to contend with gas stations that are running out of fuel.

Motorists who drive up to gas pumps in Kennewick, Pasco, and West Richland are met with notes indicating that the station did not have any fuel to sell — except for diesel.

On Facebook, local residents are reporting more than 10 gas stations that are out of fuel.

The average price of a gallon of gas in Washington State is $5.18 — well above the national average of $4.59 as of Thursday, according to AAA.

The most expensive gas in the nation could be found in California, where motorists in and around San Francisco pay more than $6 a gallon.

Limited supply exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, coupled with what is expected to be sky-high demand as Americans take to the roads this summer for travel, will likely push gas prices even higher, analysts warn.

US crude was trading at $112.31 per barrel while Brent crude, the international standard, was trading at $112.89 per barrel, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

The average price of a gallon of gas in Washington State has exceeded $5, according to AAA.
The average price of a gallon of gas in Washington State has exceeded $5, according to AAA.
AAA

The only three states who were below $4 a gallon as of Monday — Georgia, Kansas, and Oklahoma — crossed the threshold on Tuesday, AAA reported.

The oil and gas industry has criticized the Biden administration for its policies which they say have kept supply limited.

Last week, the Biden administration announced that it was canceling three oil and gas lease sales scheduled in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska — removing millions of acres from possibly drilling.

The Interior Department announced the decision last Wednesday night, citing a lack of industry interest in drilling off the Alaska coast and “conflicting court rulings” that have complicated drilling efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, where the bulk of US offshore drilling takes place.

The decision likely means the Biden administration will not hold a lease sale for offshore drilling this year and comes as Interior appears set to let a mandatory five-year plan for offshore drilling expire next month.

“Unfortunately, this is becoming a pattern — the administration talks about the need for more supply and acts to restrict it,″ said Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of the American Petroleum Institute, the top lobbying group for the oil and gas industry.

“As geopolitical volatility and global energy prices continue to rise, we again urge the administration to end the uncertainty and immediately act on a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing,″ he said.

With Post wires

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