The New York Islanders had an overtime goal overturned and lost in a shootout, 4-3, to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum.
Thomas Vanek scored the would-be game-winner with 1:15 to play in the sudden-death period, but the goal was called back, as it was ruled that he had used a kicking motion to push the puck over the line. Blues forward and New Rochelle, NY, native Kevin Shattenkirk scored the game-decider in the third round of the ensuing shootout.
“I thought it was a terrible call,” Vanek said. “I think we all know what a kicking motion is. To me a kicking motion is if I physically lift my foot and move the puck. My skate never elevated, it was on the ice the whole time. I got lucky there; it hit my skate blade and spun right in.”
Vanek was the lone Islander to score in the shootout and finished the game with a goal and an assist. Vanek, along with Kyle Okposo and Matt Martin, had the Islanders up 3-2 until T.J. Oshie snuck a wrist shot through traffic and goaltender Kevin Poulin, tying the game with 26.7 seconds to play in the third period.
“We had the lead with 20 seconds left and we didn’t get the job done,” Islanders captain John Tavares said. “The puck seemed to have eyes on that one. They made a push and we aren’t doing enough to hang on to the leads… That’s a big point we lost today.”
The late-tying goal and recalled-winner negated an otherwise good game for the Islanders, who battled hard against one of the NHL’s top teams. At no point did the Islanders trail, nor did they get into penalty trouble against the league’s third-ranked power play. The Islanders also outshot the Blues 36-35.
“It was a tough way to lose, but if we play like that most nights we are going to come out on top,” Martin said.
Vanek opened the scoring at 4:01, sniping a loose puck high-short side on Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Vanek was initially skating towards the bench for a change, but curled back to the net after a turnover that Tavares and Okposo worked towards the slot for their linemate to bury.
Eleven minutes later, Okposo put the Islanders up 2-0 with a wrap-around goal. Okposo drove behind the net, but hit the brakes, changed direction and fooled Halak, who was caught looking the other way.
The two-goal lead did not hold up, as Vladimir Tarasenko tied the score with goals at the end of the first period and the start of the second. Both came off wristers from the high slot, the second coming 1:17 in the middle frame.
The Islanders responded less than three minutes later, as Martin finished off a tic-tac-toe play from Colin McDonald and Casey Cizikas to put the Isles ahead 3-2. Cizikas fed McDonald at the side of the net for a one-time pass to Martin, who snapped the puck five-hole on Halak.
Poulin made 32 saves in the losing effort and suffered his first shootout loss of the season. Halak made 33 saves in regulation and stopped two-of-three Islanders shooters in the shootout.
The Islanders wrap up a three-game set at the Coliseum Monday night, when they host the Boston Bruins. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.
NOTES: Okposo’s two points – his 53rd and 54th this season – established a new career-high, eclipsing the 52 he scored in 2009-10… Andrew MacDonald led the Islanders with 28:07 TOI… Okposo led the Islanders with five shots… The Islanders PK went 2-for-2… Martin led the Islanders with four hits.