The Islanders weren’t able to hold a two-goal third period lead, falling to the Washington Capitals 3-2 in overtime at the Nassau Coliseum
Mike Green sent a cross ice pass to a streaking Brooks Laich, who deflected the oncoming pass through the legs of Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson to give the Caps a 3-2 win just one minute into the overtime period.
"We played a pretty good game. They're a good team, and they have a good offense with a lot of goal scorers," Islanders defenseman Mark Streit said. "When you’re up two goals you obviously want to get the win, but it's unfortunate."
Despite the loss, Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon saw a big step forward in his team's development.
"Obviously we're pretty disappointed with the loss, but I think given the way we were against Montreal, it's a huge step forward,” Gordon said. "I honestly think that we've gotten some performances out of some players that we haven't seen in a while."
One of those players Gordon was referring to was Radek Martinek, who started off the scoring, giving the Islanders a one-goal lead 12:14 into the first period with his first of the season. Down a man with Blake Comeau in the penalty box, Martinek was the trail end of a short-handed odd-man rush for the Isles.
With Sean Bergenheim flanking the left side, Frans Nielsen dropped the puck off for a trailing Martinek, who fired a slapshot past Washington goaltender Jose Theodore and into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Both teams were held scoreless in the second period, but the Islanders penalty killing was up to the task in the middle frame, killing off three Washington power plays.
A key moment came with a little under seven minutes left in the middle frame, where the Isles killed an 18 second two-man advantage and the subsequent power play following to hold the Capitals to just three shots and off the scoreboard.
Coach Gordon was more than pleased with the efforts of his penalty killers.
"Most of their oppoortunities in the second period came down to that 5-on-3 and 5-on-4," said Gordon. "They're a dynamic power play and they've got a lot of weapons. Rollie made some big saves, we got some blocks and some good clears. It's frustrating but there's a lot more good than there was bad."
Jeff Tambellini gave the Islanders a two-goal lead with his first of the season 3:44 into the third with some nifty hand-eye coordination. Blake Comeau sent a wrist shot towards Theodore that looked off-line, but Tambellini deflected the puck the other way and fluttered into the net for the 2-0 advantage.
Mike Green cut the Islanders advantage in half with his second goal of the season 6:02 into the third period. Green took a drop-pass from Mike Knuble just after entering the Islanders zone and fired a slapshot inside the right post and behind Roloson to cut the Capitals deficit to 2-1.
Keith Aucoin tied the game up for the Capitals with 6:50 left in the third period for his first goal of the season. Aucoin retrieved a loose puck behind the Islanders net with Roloson out of position and attempted a wrap-around. Unfortunately for the Isles, the puck deflected off Josh Bailey's leg and found its way across the goal line to tie the game up, 2-2.
"Well certainly that second goal was tough to take," Gordon said. "We did a lot of good things, but it’s just the way it goes."
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Brooks Laich, WSH: Game winning goal, assist.
2. Radek Martinek, NYI: Goal, seven blocked shots
3. Mike Green, WSH: Goal, assist, 26:08 ice time.
Slapshots: Islanders outshot Washington, 30-24...Radek Martinek led all Isles in ice time with 24:56...Jeff Tambellini led all Islanders with 4 shots on goal...Doug Weight (flu), Rob Schremp (healthy) and Freddy Meyer (healthy) were the Islanders scratches...With Weight scratched from the lineup, Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo, and Richard Park wore the "A" as alternate captain...The Islanders proficiency at winning faceoffs continued, as they won 70% of the draws...Washington's last four visits to the Nassau Coliseum have ended in overtime, dating back to December 22, 2007