The New York Islanders lost to the Calgary Flames for the first time since Jan. 8, 2009, falling 4-2 Thursday at Nassau Coliseum.
Calgary native Thomas Hickey and rookie defenseman Calvin de Haan scored for the Islanders, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the score, but could not overcome David Jones’ go-ahead goal with 5:32 remaining in the third period.
“It didn't feel like we were just going to tie it up, I thought we were going to take that next step,” Hickey said. “We didn't get one right away and they found a way to get one. We were pressing to the end, but we couldn't find a way to tie it up.”
The winning goal, a sharp-angled shot that deflected off Jones in the Islanders crease, was briefly reviewed by officials, who upheld the call. The Islanders made their case for goaltender interference, while an official video review was employed to determine whether or not the goal posts were knocked off their moorings prior to the puck crossing the goal line.
“I understand it's bang-bang and it's tight, but obviously from what we saw we thought maybe it was goalie interference,” Islanders captain John Tavares said. “Whether it's a penalty or not, I just thought it didn't give Nabby a chance to make the save.”
Despite leading 22-11 in shots after two periods, the Islanders found themselves trailing 2-1. Flames rookie Sean Monahan opened the scoring at the 14:15 mark of the second period, converting the Flames ninth shot of the game. Monahan was in the right place at the right time, firing a fortunate bounce that landed on his stick at the hashmarks. Dennis Wideman’s power-play goal put the Flames up 2-0 just under four minutes later, beating Nabokov with a wrist shot from the top of the circle.
“When you get pucks to the net, good things happen,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “That’s how they scored all their goals. There were no breakdowns. They got pucks to the net and we didn’t. We passed up a lot of chances.”
Facing a 2-0 deficit, Hickey put the Isles on the board with 6.1 seconds to play in the middle frame. Hickey joined the late-period rush as a trailer and deposited a Josh Bailey rebound for his fourth goal of the season.
Re-armed with the momentum entering the third, the Islanders tied the score on de Haan’s second of the season. The rookie defenseman let traffic develop in front of Reto Berra before beating the Flames goaltender cleanly with a wrister.
Berra stopped 28-of-30 Islanders shots, while Nabokov stopped 18-of-21 in the loss. Mikael Backlund scored an empty-netter with three seconds to play to seal the Flames win.
The Islanders host the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, their last game before the Olympic break. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
NOTES: Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin were traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL draft following the contest… The loss ends the Islanders three-game home winning streak against the Flames… John Tavares led the Islanders with 25:13 TOI… Andrew MacDonald led the Islanders with five blocked shots.
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