The New York Islanders could not hold a two-goal, third-period lead and fell 3-2 to the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders held a 2-0 advantage at the second intermission, but a resilient and relentless Kings team scored three goals in the final frame, with Tyler Toffoli deflecting the winner past Kevin Poulin with 1:27 remaining.
“That’s two points we are going to be kicking ourselves about,” John Tavares said. “Again, we played pretty well until the third period, but every part of our game let us down… We need more complete games and we have to be better as a team.”
Slava Voynov put the Kings on the board at 5:34 of the third and Tanner Pearson tied the score with a power-play goal at 12:15, but the Kings tilted the ice right from the start of the third period, holding the Islanders to only three shots on goal.
“They started getting confidence and started making plays,” Casey Cizikas said. “We had to do a better job of slowing them down, getting pucks in deep, finishing our checks and taking away their time and space.”
The loss put a damper on what was otherwise a special night for rookie Aaron Ness, who scored his first career NHL goal. Ness pinched on an Islanders rush and one-timed a cross-ice pass from Tavares low and to the far side, just past the reach of Ben Scrivens. The goal was also Ness’ first NHL point and extended Tavares’ point streak to four games (1g/5a).
“Johnny made a phenomenal play, I just happened to slap it in,” Ness said.
Another Islander picked up his first goal of the season, as Cizikas put the Isles on the board with his first at 2:44 of the second. Cizikas took advantage of a favorable bounce, walking out and backhanding the puck past a sprawling Scrivens, finishing what was a gritty, hard-working shift by the fourth line.
The Islanders power play went 0-4 Thursday, while the Kings went 1-3. In goal, Poulin made 21 saves on 24 shots, while Scrivens, who started in place of an injured Jonathan Quick, turned aside 23 of 25.
The loss ended a two-game home winning streak for the Islanders, as well as a two-game home winning streak against the Kings. The Islanders are back in action Saturday night, as they host the Detroit Red Wings on Military Appreciation Night, presented by AXE.
29 Brock Nelson – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo
96 Pierre-Marc Bouchard – 51 Frans Nielsen – 12 Josh Bailey
40 Michael Grabner – 16 Peter Regin – 13 Colin McDonald
17 Matt Martin – 53 Casey Cizikas – 15 Cal Clutterbuck
47 Andrew MacDonald – 3 Travis Hamonic
14 Thomas Hickey – 46 Matt Donovan
55 Aaron Ness – 7 Matt Carkner
60 Kevin Poulin
20 Evgeni Nabokov
23 Dustin Brown – 11 Anze Kopitar – 14 Justin Williams
74 Dwight King – 10 Mike Richards – 73 Tyler Toffoli
70 Tanner Pearson – 24 Colin Fraser – 22 Trevor Lewis
71 Jordan Nolan – 57 Linden Vey – 21 Matt Frattin