The Islanders wrapped up their four-game home stand with another disappointing loss. Brad Richardson scored at 2:16 of overtime to give the Vancouver Canucks a 5-4 win over the Isles. The Islanders got a point but finished the home stand with a disappointing 1-1-2 mark.
Like most recent Isles’ games, Tuesday night’s contest was a roller coaster ride for the club. At times, the Isles played very well, at times they looked lethargic and in the end, their effort just wasn’t good enough to get the win.
The game started out with wide open play and Islanders held the early lead on goals by Brock Nelson and Matt Moulson by the time the contest was 4:41 old. For Nelson, it was his first career NHL goal.
“It was exciting, but it would be a lot better if it came in a win,” Nelson admitted. “It was a great play by my two linemates. I was lucky to be on the other end of it.”
Moulson’s goal came on the power play with assists by Frans Nielsen and John Tavares. The assist extended Tavares’ point streak to eight games.
The 2-0 lead was short-lived, however as Ryan Kesler tied the game just 16 seconds later while Daniel Sedin evened the score at the 9:09 mark of the first period at 2-2. The game settled down after that and resumed a more conservative and choppy pace. On both goals, Isles’ starter Evgeni Nabokov had issues with rebound control. This problem would haunt him throughout the night.
Matt Moulson’s second goal of the game 4:48 into the second period put the Isles back on top 3-2. Moulson battled in front of the crease for the puck and finally pushed it past Roberto Luongo to give the Isles the lead back.
But Henrik Sedin tied the game up again at the 12:39 mark of the second stanza to make the score 3-3 and deadlock things again.
The key goal came with 17.2 seconds left in the second period. Kevin Bieksa stole the puck from Nelson and Higgins deposited another juicy rebound behind Nabokov. That made it 4-3 Vancouver and gave the Canucks m0mentum heading into the third period.
The Islanders were flat for most of the third period and it looked like the 4-3 margin would stand but with Nabokov off for an extra attacker, Nielsen took a pretty pass from Andrew MacDonald and slid the puck into the open left side of the Vancouver goal to tie the score with just 1:12 left in regulation time.
That earned the Isles a point but set the stage for Richardson’s game-winner on yet another rebound 2:16 into overtime. The Canucks outshot the Islanders 4-0 in the extra session.
“Any time you get a point in this league it’s obviously big, but at some point, we’ve got to start getting these other points,” admitted forward Matt Martin. “We’ve got to find ways to win these games.”
Islanders’ coach Jack Capuano tried to emphasize the positive after the game. “We out-chanced a good hockey team in our building tonight,” Capuano said. “I thought our power play and our penalty killing were good. We had some young guys in the lineup that played pretty well tonight. I’ll give [Vancouver] credit; they got pucks to the net and got some rebounds.”
The Islanders return to action Friday night when they travel to Pittsburgh to meet the Penguins.
The game was a homecoming of sorts for Canucks’ coach John Tortorella who coached in New York with the Rangers the past several seasons.
Attendance was 11,922.
Cal Clutterbuck led the Isles with seven hits. As a team, New York outhit Vancouver 36-22.
Long Island native Chris Higgins returned home in a Canucks uniform and had a contingent of family and friends in attendance.