The New York Islanders lost their fifth straight hockey game Monday night, a 6-4 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes at the Nassau Coliseum. As the late Gilda Radner’s Roseanne Roseannadanna character on “Saturday Night Live” used to say, “It’s always something.”
In the previous four losses, the Islanders power play was 0-for-22. Last night, all four Isles goals came with the man-advantage. But it wasn’t enough to overcome poor positional defense and uneven goaltending by Rick DiPietro.
The Islanders lost three different one-goal leads in this contest. They led 1-0 on Frans Nielsen’s first goal of the year less than three minutes into the game. John Tavares made it 2-1 Islanders early in the second period while Matt Moulson’s tally at the 7:46 mark of the second period made it 3-2 for the Isles after 40 minutes.
But Jiri Tlusty scored just 30 seconds into the third to tie the game at 3-3 and change the momentum of the game. Alexander Semin scored five minutes later to put Carolina ahead to stay. Big Eric Staal scored on a deflection at the 9:09 mark of the third to put Carolina ahead 5-3. A late goal by Lubomir Visnovsky, his first as an Islander, wasn’t enough to even the score. Tlusty’s empty net goal with 10 seconds left iced the victory for Carolina.
The poor finish left the Islanders searching for answers. “It’s hard to take in the third [period],” John Tavares said. “Obviously we gave up four goals. There were a couple of tough ones, a couple of very bad breaks. We gave a little bit of fight there at the end but it wasn’t enough. It’s obviously frustrating.”
The goaltending in the third period didn’t help. Rick DiPietro had some very good moments in the first two periods, anticipating the play well, but in the third, he allowed three goals in 10 shots including a few strange deflections. One goal bounced into the net off the chest of Isles’ defenseman Travis Hamonic. Overall, it was a tough outing for DiPietro, who was playing in only his second game of the season. The veteran was booed by the crowd of 9,622 on several occasions.
“We had a couple of crazy bounces,” DiPietro admitted after the game. “You know it’s funny, when the power play gets going and scores a couple of goals, you get a game like this where you get pucks bouncing off people’s chests and going in the net but in the end, it’s not the result we’re looking for.”
Islanders Coach Jack Capuano obviously wasn’t pleased with the play of his goaltender. “I have no comment on the goaltending,” he said at his postgame press conference.
When asked about his team’s play he added, “It’s not good enough. It’s getting repetitious standing up here. For us to be successful, we have to have all 20 guys going and I thought some guys were soft tonight, we didn’t win many puck battles.”
This game was mostly even statistically, although the Islanders were sloppy with the puck at times. They were credited with 19 giveaways in the game while the Hurricanes had only one.
Forward Brad Boyes, who had an assist in the game, said the club has to find ways to end this losing streak. “Earlier we were finding ways to win,” Boyes said. “Lately, while we might deserve better fates, but we’re not finding ways and that’s something we’ve got to learn. We’ve got to clean this up.”
The Islanders return to action Thursday when they face the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Then they return home Saturday night to host the Devils. New York Islanders tickets are still available for this game.
The Islanders finished 4-for-7 on the power play while Carolina was 0-for-5
Ex-Islander Tim Wallace scored Carolina’s first goal to tie the game 1-1. It was Wallace’s first goal with the Hurricanes.