Despite holding a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes of play, the New York Islanders lost 6-4 to the Carolina Hurricanes Monday at Nassau Coliseum.
Matt Moulson (two goals, one assist), Lubomir Visnovsky (two assists) and John Tavares (two assists) posted multiple-point games, as the Islanders power play struck on 4-of-5 opportunities, but the home team fell to 4-7-1.
Following the game, Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano acknowledged the turnaround of the power play, which had been 0-for-22 over the previous four games.
“We got pucks to the net tonight,” Capuano said. “On those first couple goals, our players realized what we had to do. We generated some shots and we had some traffic and that’s the way you score goals. I thought they did a good job as far as that goes.”
The Islanders led 3-2 to start the third, but surrendered four goals over the final 20 minutes, beginning just 30 seconds into the period with a Jiri Tlusty second-chance rebound to tie the game 3-3.
Alexander Semin’s third of the season five minutes later put the Hurricanes on top. His centering attempt went high off a backchecking Travis Hamonic and over the shoulder of Rick DiPietro, who was starting his first game since Jan. 25. Before the midway point of the period, Eric Staal made the score 5-3 on a double-deflection through traffic.
The Islanders power play kept the game close with its fourth of the evening at 11:32. Moulson’s second goal of the game was a redirection of Visnovsky’s shot from the right wing boards.
With Eric Staal in the penalty box later in the period, the Islanders were unable to convert on their fifth power play of the game and with time winding down, Tlusty scored his second of the contest into an empty net, capping the score at 6-4.
“Mistakes are going to happen,” Tavares said. “Lapses are going to happen. But how we respond is important. Their fourth goal was a really tough break. We tried to keep dialing back and it just didn’t seem like it wanted to go in for us. But in that situation you’ve got to just keep sticking with it and keep your head up.”
Frans Nielsen had put the Islanders ahead 1-0 with his first goal of the season at 2:48 of the first period. Josh Bailey passed the puck out of the corner to Nielsen, who was circling to the slot for a quick strike.
Former Islander Tim Wallace tied the game for the Hurricanes midway through the first period. His deflection off Jamie McBain’s point shot was reviewed for a possible kicking motion, but ultimately ruled a goal.
Tavares scored five minutes into the second to re-establish the lead. Just 11 seconds into a power play, the Islanders had several cracks at a loose rebound in front of Carolina goaltender Cam Ward before Tavares finished the play for his seventh goal in the last eight games. Visnovsky, whose point shot started the play, earned his first point as an Islander.
Just 29 seconds later, Jeff Skinner tied the score at 2-2 off the rush. Skinner’s shot from the high slot off a broken play eluded DiPietro at 5:52.
But the Islanders re-gained their lead two minutes later on the man advantage courtesy of Matt Moulson. The Islanders winger was all alone at the back door and dropped to his knee to loft a one-timer past Ward.
“Earlier this season we were finding ways to win and lately we might have deserved better fates but now we’re not finding a way,” Boyes said. “And that’s something you just have to learn and we have to go back to what we did earlier to get those wins. It doesn’t matter how hard we play, we’ve got to get points and we’ve got to get production to move up in standings.”
The Islanders face off against the division-rival New York Rangers on Thursday, Feb. 14 at Madison Square Garden. Puck drop is set for 7:00.
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