SUNRISE — The New York Islanders saw their seven-game road winning streak snapped Tuesday night, as they fell 4-2 to the Florida Panthers in Sunrise.
Thomas Vanek and Colin McDonald scored for the Islanders, who could not overcome a 4-0 deficit. The Islanders had also trailed in each of their last five road victories. The loss ended the Islanders season-high, four-game winning streak.
“We got ourselves in a deeper hole than the last couple of games,” McDonald said. “Going down four is just too tough to come back.”
Aleksander Barkov, Drew Shore and Nick Bjudstad each scored first-period goals for the Panthers, who were up 3-0 after the 20-minute mark. Barkov opened the scoring 32 seconds into the game, finishing a two-on-one rush with former-Islander Brad Boyes. Fifteen minutes later, Shore scored his first of the season, as his shot on goal deflected off Brian Strait’s skate and past Kevin Poulin. Bjudstad’s 10th of the season came off a turnover at the Islanders blue line, as he rounded out the first-period scoring with 36 seconds to play.
Despite several high-quality scoring chances in the second period, the ice was still tilted in the Panthers favor. With the Islanders pressing on the power play, Scottie Upshall charged the puck at the blue line and scored on a shorthanded breakaway.
“It’s self-inflicted,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “It’s tough to give up those kind of goals when the puck is on your stick and you have the time to make a play.”
The Islanders got on the board with 31 seconds left in the second period, as McDonald tapped in a Matt Martin feed from below the goal line.
The momentum from the late goal carried over into the third period, as Vanek deposited a sly feed from Frans Nielsen 2:38 into the period. Vanek’s goal – his 16th of the season - came from a similar spot as McDonald’s, as the Islanders increased their presence around the Panthers net.
The Islanders outshot the Panthers 15-6 in the final frame, but the shot advantage didn’t translate onto the scoreboard. Tim Thomas stopped 14-of-15 in the third period and 31-of-33 in the game, halting the late Islanders push.
“I thought we generated, as a team, the most chances we’ve had in a long time,” Vanek said. “It’s partially good goaltending, but also us not burying our chances. It’s those little plays we didn’t execute.”
Poulin made 22 saves in the loss, which ended his personal five-game winning streak.
The Islanders continue the Florida swing of their six-game road trip, as they play the Lightning Thursday night in Tampa. Puck drop from the Tampa Bay Times Forum goes at 7:30 p.m.
NOTES: Travis Hamonic (upper body) did not play Tuesday, ending his consecutive games streak at 117 games… Calvin de Haan picked up an assist, extending his point streak to five games (1-6-7)… Matt Donovan, Matt Martin and Colin McDonald each had four hits… Andrew MacDonald led the Islanders with 29:39 TOI while John Tavares (24:50) and Kyle Okposo (24:54) each played over 24 minutes… Tavares won 14-of-21 faceoffs (67%).
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