The New York Islanders couldn’t continue their strong play against the Western Conference, losing 3-1 to the Nashville Predators Monday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum.
The Isles entered the game with points in 10 of 14 games vs. the West this season, but Nashville jumped out to a quick start, capitalizing on their first and second shots of the game.
“We were not ready in the first period at all,” Travis Hamonic said. “(There’s) no excuse for not being ready in this game. This is game 42 or 43 in the season and everyone has to be ready.”
Sergei Kostitsyn opened the scoring with a rifling wrist shot from the slot only 2:17 into the game. A little more than three minutes later, Matt Halischuk came streaking down the right side and threaded another puck top corner.
David Legwand finished a wide tic-tac-toe and the Predators finished the first period up 3-0.
“Against a team that spreads out their scoring, it’s tough to get your top pair to shut down the other team, but it’s still no excuse,” Matt Martin said. “We have to be reliable on the ice and we’ve got to be able to shut down anyone.”
The Islanders found their legs in the second period, outshooting the Predators 19-10. The Isles also had an extended five-on-three power play for 1:10, but despite throwing plenty of rubber at the net, Pekka Rinne and the Preds’ defense kept a clean sheet after two periods.
“He [Rinne] made some really good saves, especially on the five-on-three,” PA Parenteau said. “But we have to find ways, even if you run into a hot goaltender like that, you have to find ways to score goals and we didn’t tonight.”
John Tavares broke Rinne’s shutout bid at 16:02 of the third period deflecting a Matt Moulson pass from the boards. Tavares extended his career-high point streak to nine games (5g/11a) and with an assist, Kyle Okposo has now scored points in six of his last seven games (5g/2a).
The Islanders don’t have much time to dwell on the loss, with a game in Washington Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
“We have to be ready, it’s two games in 48 hours,” Parenteau said. “We have to bring the last 10 minutes of this third period we just played to tomorrow’s game and hopefully we can come out with a big win.”
The Isles finished their final four-game home stand of the season 2-2. Today’s attendance was 10,755.