The New York Islanders were shut out for the first time this season, falling 1-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night at PNC Arena.
Radek Dvorak scored the game’s only goal, as the Islanders normally potent offense couldn’t find their rhythm or solve Canes goalie Justin Peters, who picked up his first shutout of the season. Peters only had to make 21 saves, as the Islanders missed the net 23 times and had another 13 attempts get blocked.
“We had 19 missed shots after two periods,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “Obviously that’s something we have to work on. We have to hit the net to create chances and get those second and third opportunities and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Dvorak opened scored the eventual winner at 6:39 of the first period, deflecting a Ron Hainsey point shot off his body past Kevin Poulin. The ricochet was the only puck to get by Poulin, who stopped 23 of 24 shots, including some big saves in the third period to give the Islanders a chance.
“He (Poulin) made the big save when he needed,” Capuano said. “Kevin battled for us and he deserved to win that hockey game.”
The Isles only managed 12 shots on net after two periods, but had some quality chances. John Tavares led a three-on-one, but his backhander narrowly missed the far post.
“It was a sloppy game and really tight-checking out there,” Tavares said. “They seemed to get a good bounce and we didn’t get one of those today.”
With the missed opportunities and stalled offensive momentum, frustration set in on the Islanders bench and the game developed an edge as the night went on.
Matt Martin fought Brett Bellemore at 9:42 of the second and Nathan Gerbe dropped the gloves with Travis Hamonic before the linesmen intervened. Bellemore also went after Tavares, which led to a mini scrum.
“It was a little frustrating obviously,” Martin said. “It was tough to get anything going and we had a few good opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on early and their goalie got some confidence.”
The Islanders defense tightened up on Thursday, as did the penalty kill, which went a perfect 2-for-2. The power play went 0-for-3.
The Islanders continue their four-game road trip in Columbus on Saturday when they take on the Blue Jackets. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Notes: Aaron Ness made his season debut after being recalled from Bridgeport this morning. Ness had two hits and two blocked shots in 13:29 TOI… Colin McDonald played his first game since Oct. 25 on a line with Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas… Cal Clutterbuck sat out Thursday’s game and is day-to-day with an upper body injury… Andrew MacDonald led the Islanders with 27:02 TOI and six blocked shots.
Jiri Tlusty – Eric Staal – Alexander Semin
Nathan Gerbe – Jordan Staal – Tuomo Ruutu
Chris Terry – Riley Nash – Patrick Dwyer
Drayson Bowman – Manny Malhotra – Radek Dvorak
Andrej Sekera – Justin Faulk
Ron Hainsey – Brett Bellemore
Jay Harrison – Ryan Murphy