Special teams were the name of the game between the Islanders and St. Louis Blues, as both team's goals were scored on the power play, however the Blues came away with a 2-1 shootout win at the Nassau Coliseum.
"Any loss is frustrating. I guess when you're right there, and it just kind of slips away it might be a little more frustrating," Matt Moulson said. "We just have to...ensure we win those one-goal games."
With the game deadlocked at one goal apiece after 65 minutes of play, the Islanders chose first to shoot in the shootout with their best shooter, Frans Nielsen to lead things off. However, Nielsen was stopped by St. Louis goaltender Chris Mason with the blocker. St. Louis forward TJ Oshie answered by firing a quick wrist shot past Islanders goaltender Martin Biron to give the Blues the advantage, and that was all they needed.
For Biron, facing a team the Islanders dont normally see in the shootout was a bit of a challenge.
"You kind of watch television, watch the highlights. You see Oshie, he's got a pretty good stick and good hands," Biron said. "You want to get in a good rhythm, and right from the beginning when the first one goes in, you're fighting that rhythm.
"When it goes down to the shoot out, it's kind of like a coin flip."
The first period looked destined to end scoreless, however Matt Moulson would put an end to that feeling with 9.4 seconds left, scoring his 24th goal of the season.
With Matt D'Agostini's boarding penalty about to expire, Mark Streit corralled a loose puck at the half boards and noticed Moulson heading for the slot area. Streit fed the Islanders left winger, which Moulson one-timed a shot over the shoulder of Mason to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Biron was strong through the first 20 minutes of play, stopping all 11 St. Louis shots that were fired at him.
"Marty made some big saves, so it could've been a different game," Moulson said.
Special teams would prove to be important in the second period, as St. Louis evened things up on their first power play.
With Tim Jackman in the penalty box for hooking, Andy MacDonald sent a pass to the slot towards a cutting Patrik Berglund. Berlund managed to get his stick on the pass, deflecting it off the right post behind Biron. After sliding across the goal line, the rubber found its way towards the back of the net to tie things up for the Blues at 1-1.
Both teams however would get two more attempts on the power play during the middle period and were unsuccessful, keeping the score deadlocked at one goal after 40 minutes.
"(We need to) just identify what we're doing wrong and correcting them. That's obviously the biggest thing. We're in a little bit of a slump," Moulson said. "We're going to have to get the greasy goals and greasy wins, that's how you're going to be a successful team in this league. Those one-goal games, we're going to have to learn how to win those more often than not."
Special teams would prove to be important late in the game, as Richard Park was called for high sticking with 1:40 left to go in the second period. Fortunately for the Islanders, the penalty killing unit held strong to force the game to overtime, and were able to kill off the rest of the penalty in the extra period.
The Islanders were also rewarded a power play of their own during the overtime period when Frans Nielsen was boarded by Barrett Jackman.
Using three forwards on the ice for the power play, the Islanders managed three shots with the extra man, but no goals to send the game to the shootout.
"We played against a team thats got some experience and are playing pretty well," Biron said. "We took a lot of penalties in the third period but we battled hard on those penalty kills. We had a chance to go on the PP and win that one. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Chris Mason, STL: 29 saves for the win 2. Matt Moulson, NYI: Scored team-leading 24th goal of the season. 3. Martin Biron, NYI: 35 saves in a shootout loss
Slapshots: St. Louis outshot the Islanders, 36-30...Mark Streit led all Islanders with 31:02 of ice time...Blake Comeau led all Islanders with 5 shots on goal...St. Louis was 1-6 on the power play, while the Islanders were 1-5 on the man advantage...This was the second and final meeting of the year between the two teams, with the Blues taking both contests...Islanders have an all-time record of 46-31-23 against St. Louis
43 Martin Biron
30 Dwayne Roloson
ST. LOUIS BLUES
9 Paul Kariya - 74 TJ Oshie - 42 David Backes
57 David Perron - 21 Patrik Berglund - 10 Andy McDonald
20 Alexander Steen - 22 Brad Boyes - 18 Jay McClement
26 BJ Crombeen - 15 Brad Winchester - 36 Matt DAgostini
46 Roman Polak - 5 Barret Jackman
6 Erik Johnson - 4 Eric Brewer
43 Mike Weaver - 28 Carlo Colaiacovo
50 Chris Mason
29 Ty Conklin
1 - 0 NYI