The New York Islanders closed out their home schedule with a 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators Tuesday at the Nassau Coliseum. Jason Spezza scored twice for Ottawa while Craig Anderson made 45 saves to earn the victory. Frans Nielsen scored the only goal for the Islanders.
“I thought our kids battled, but the more skilled team won the game tonight,” Isles coach Jack Capuano said. “They are a skilled team and they caught our defense flat-footed on a couple of their goals.”
The first period started off with some physical play. Rookie Brett Gallant made his mark during his NHL debut, dropping the gloves with Matt Kassian of Ottawa midway through the first period and knocking the Senators’ winger to the ice with a hard right hand. The two players tried to fight a little earlier in the period but the linesmen stepped in and prevented the two from throwing punches. They were each assessed minors for unsportsmanlike conduct. When they came out of the penalty box, they dropped the gloves again and managed to complete the fight.
After a scoreless first period, Spezza got Ottawa on the board first when he scored on the power play at 12:45 of the second stanza. Chris Neil was in front of Anders Nilsson to screen the Isles netminder.
Nilsson made several impressive saves in the game, especially in the first two periods. He stopped a pair of odd-man rushes and a golden scoring chance by Kyle Turris with a fast glove.
The Isles evened the game 22 seconds into the third period when Nielsen backhanded home the rebound of a shot by Kevin Czuczman in the slot.
The game stayed tied until Spezza struck again with 7:15 left in the third period on a goal that was confirmed after a replay review. At first, play continued and the officials did not stop the game but the War Room in Toronto confirmed that Spezza’s shot went into the net and the Senators led 2-1.
Ales Hemsky gave Ottawa a two-goal lead at 14:26 of the third period on a goal Nilsson would like to have back. Kassian added an empty net goal in the final seconds of the game to make the final score 4-1 Senators.
The Isles finished the season with a disappointing 13-19-9 record at home. They are presently 18-18-2 on the road with three games remaining on the schedule.
The season continues Thursday night when the Isles travel to Montreal to face the Canadiens.
Denis Potvin received a warm ovation from the crowd when he was shown on the videoboard. Potvin currently does color for the Senators TV broadcasts.
Official attendance was 12, 922
The Islanders lost Cal Clutterbuck to an upper-body injury in the first period. He did not return.
The Isles outhit the Sens 27-8. Colin McDonald led the team with seven hits.