The New York Islanders ran into one of the NHL’s hottest goalies Friday, falling 2-1 to Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators at Nassau Coliseum.
Tyler Kennedy broke Hammond’s shutout bid with 8:01 to play in the third period, but the rookie netminder stopped 34-of-35 shots, including 22 in the second period.
“He did a good job of making that first save,” captain John Tavares said. “He’s playing with confidence and facing a confident goalie, you have to find a way to get second and third opportunities.”
The Islanders generated 35 shots Friday, including nine on the power play, but were largely held to the perimeter. Hammond stood tall and was only beat by a Kennedy deflection off Lubomir Visnovsky’s point shot.
Matt Puempel and Kyle Turris scored for the Senators, with both goals coming in the second period. Puempel joined a Sens rush off the bench, swooped in on a floating puck in the slot and hammered a knuckler past Jaroslav Halak at 6:32.
The Islanders controlled large swatches of the second period – outshooting the Sens 22-9 in the process – but where a series of backdoor plays failed, the Senators simple approach yielded the eventual winner with 1:07 to play. Erik Karlsson’s harmless-looking wrister from the point was deflected by Turris before dropping into the far corner behind Halak.
“It’s frustrating again, losing 2-1,” Halak said. “We had some opportunities on the power play that didn’t go in and all of the sudden they score on a lucky bounce on the second goal. It’s a tough one.”
Kennedy’s goal revived the Islanders, who made a push at the end of the third, but could not come up with the tying goal.
“We have to do a better job getting to the net, but [Hammond] played well tonight,” Kennedy said.
Halak made 26 saves in the loss, including a big breakaway stop on Bobby Ryan with four-and-a-half minutes to play in the third period.
The Islanders get back to work Saturday, as they host the Montreal Canadiens in the second half of a back-to-back set.
“We need to forget about this one,” Halak said. “We did some good things out there. There are some things we need to improve on. Tomorrow is going to be a tough game. We all know that and we need to get ready.”
Puck drop is at 7 p.m.