After recording 39 two-goal games, 16-year veteran forward Shane Doan recorded his first career hat trick to lead the Phoenix Coyotes to a 5-1 win at Jobing.com Arena on Saturday night. His final goal was scored with .1 seconds remaining in regulation, a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle.
“We gave it away,” Islanders Captain Mark Streit said. “I thought we had a good start. We were down 1-0, but we tied it up on the PP. We had the momentum on our side. Then in the second period, they scored right away and we couldn’t really react to it anymore.”
Frans Nielsen knocked scored a power play goal exactly midway through the first period to tie the score at one. The Islanders were 1-for -2 on the power play, and perfect on the penalty kill (3-for-3), but winning the special teams battle wouldn’t be enough.
Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano talked about breakdowns and specifically a bad line change that led to Phoenix’s go-ahead goal, Doan’s second of the night, at 1:39 of the second period.
“We lost a couple 1-on-1 battles which cost us goals,” Capuano said. “And a poor line change, they got the big goal that they needed. Looking back, it was 1-on-1 battles and that line change. We have to find a way to put some pucks in the net as well because when you make mistakes, everything is magnified.”
Nielsen expressed a similar sentiment.
“We have to pick it up,” Nielsen said. “There are no excuses. We have to be ready every night to help the team win. This isn’t good enough.”
Grabbing a loose puck off a skate for a wrist shot just outside the crease, Doan lifted the puck high to score his first goal of the night at 1:41 of the first period. Taylor Pyatt recorded the ‘Yotes third goal of the night at 3:41 of the second and Oliver Ekman-Larsson potted the fourth at 14:39.
The Islanders outshot the Coyotes 32-25 through 60 minutes, but the team is still struggling to find scoring from more than the John Tavares line. Evgeni Nabokov made 20-of-25 saves in his eighth-straight start.
“It’s tough for Nabby (Nabokov),” Streit said. “He has been playing really well and we had some major breakdowns defensively. This is disappointing because we had a good start in Anaheim and we played pretty well here as well, then we just give games away for no reason.”
Overall, the team is frustrated with their performance on the road that saw them win in the shootout against Carolina before falling to Anaheim and Phoenix.
“We had high expectations before this road trip,” Streit said. “We started out well in Carolina, got a win, didn’t play that great, but got a win. Then last two games we played two good teams, but it’s just not good enough.”
Capuano called two consecutive losses on the tail end of a three-game road trip deflating.
“It’s deflating because (Friday) night against Anaheim, we were in a position to win the game,” Capuano said. “We were in a 1-1 hockey game here (Saturday night) against a good hockey team and a little thing, an intangible, like a line change end up costing us. We have to get back to work and get ready for our homestand.”