The New York Islanders had their two-game winning streak halted Tuesday night, as they fell 4-3 to the Winnipeg Jets at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders fell behind 3-1 early in the second period, but goals from John Tavares and Mikhail Grabovski tied the score 3-3, setting the stage for a winner-take-all third period. Unfortunately for the Islanders, they couldn’t replicate their clutch second-period scoring in the final frame, as they dropped to 6-3-0 this season.
“In the third we didn’t pay the price and we weren’t gritty,” captain John Tavares said. “We battled back, but we didn’t have a great third.”
Andrew Ladd scored the game-winner 3:31 into the third stanza, potting a Jaroslav Halak rebound for his second goal of the night. The Islanders managed seven shots in the final 20 minutes, with Grabovski generating the best chance - hitting the post on a breakaway with four minutes to play.
The Islanders power play scored two of the team’s three goals, finishing the night two-for-five. Brock Nelson opened the scoring 1:16 in the first period, stationing himself in front of the net in position to tap in a Johnny Boychuk rebound.
The 1-0 lead held until the second period, when Nikolay Kulemin’s boarding major – and game misconduct – changed the complexion of the game early in the middle frame.
The Jets cashed in twice on the major penalty, scoring goals 2:52 apart. Ladd scored the Jets first goal, chipping the puck off Johnny Boychuk’s skate and underneath Halak in front of a confusing scramble around the Islanders crease. Paul Postma then banked a shot off Halak from behind the goal line giving the Jets a 2-1 lead at 4:06.
“We had the puck on our stick on both [goals],” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “One might have been a lucky bounce. Somehow it found a way into the back of our net.”
Jacob Trouba put the Jets ahead 3-1 with a long wrist shot that beat Halak glove side. The goal occurred during a four-on-four situation off the heels of a contested embellishment call on Islanders forward Matt Martin, negating a potential man advantage.
The Islanders chipped away at the Jets lead, scoring two power-play goals in 1:24 to tie the score 3-3. Tavares scored his fourth of the season off a Nelson rebound at 14:28, beating Ondrej Pavelec up high. Grabovski tied the score with a flashy individual play, using his speed to drive outside on Tobias Enstrom before curling off the goal line and around Pavelec. After blowing by Enstrom, Grabovski showed great patience, outwaiting Pavelec before roofing the puck.
“We have to play simple and just get pucks in,” Nelson said. “When we were able to tie it back up, that’s what we did, but we didn’t do that enough to put ourselves in front.”
Halak finished the night with 26 saves, while Pavelec stopped 18.
The Islanders kick off a five-game Western road trip against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. Puck drop at Pepsi Center is at 9 p.m. eastern time.