The New York Islanders offense was held at bay on Tuesday night, as they were shut out 6-0 by the Minnesota Wild at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders outshot the Wild by a wide margin, 36-22, but couldn’t capitalize on their attempts.The Wild countered with six unanswered goals, including a three-point night (two goals, one assist) from former-Islander Matt Moulson. Ilya Bryzgalov made 36 saves for the shutout.
“Nothing is going to come easy for us,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “We had some pretty good chances. It just seemed like when we gave them a chance, with the skill that they have, it was in the back of our net.”
Despite outshooting the Wild 16-6 in the opening frame, the Islanders found themselves down 2-0 by the first intermission. Moulson, who was making his return to Nassau Coliseum for the first time since being dealt in October, knocked in the eventual winner from the top of the crease at 12:23. Three-and-a-half minutes later, Jared Spurgeon ripped a hard one-timer high glove on Anders Nilsson, opening up a two-goal lead.
“We just didn’t get enough after the first period,” Kyle Okposo said. “We looked like we stopped playing… It’s unacceptable.”
Mikael Granlund put the Wild ahead 3-0 late in the second period, as Minnesota outshot the Islanders 11-8 in the middle stanza. Granlund skated into the slot undetected before snapping a Jason Pominville pass past Nilsson.
Clayton Stoner, Justin Fontaine and Moulson all scored third-period goals for the Wild. Stoner scored on a breakaway as he exited the penalty box; Fontaine beat Nilsson high with a hard slap shot, while Moulson netted a power-play goal to round out the scoring.
Kevin Czuczman made his NHL debut, skating 20:06 TOI with one shot and three blocks. Czuczman, a free-agent defenseman from Lake Superior State, was paired with Travis Hamonic and saw increased ice time after Brian Strait left the game in the second period with a broken hand.
“It’s tough losing the first one, but I felt more comfortable as the game went along,” Czuczman said. “All I can control was how hard I worked.”
The Islanders have four days off before wrapping up their homestand Sunday afternoon against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Puck drop is at 1 p.m.
NOTES: Travis Hamonic led the Islanders with 24:30 TOI… Anders Lee had a game-high eight shots… Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Lee all had their multi-game point streaks snapped… Cal Clutterbuck led the Islanders with four hits against his former team.