The New York Islanders got two goals from Anders Lee but played a sloppy game in their own end in a 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers Tuesday night at the Nassau Coliseum. The loss was the third straight for the Islanders.
Jimmy Hayes scored twice for the Panthers who also got 32 saves from ex-Isles goalie Al Montoya in this contest.
There were plenty of mistakes to dwell on in this game. The Islanders did not play their style of hockey, were not sharp with their passes and coughed up the puck in their own end too often to win the hockey game.
“I think we’re just making the wrong decisions,” forward Matt Martin explained. “The effort level is there. But we were not getting pucks deep and we’re turning pucks over at the line…We just didn’t make it hard enough on them.”
The Islanders got off to a good start when Lee opened the scoring just 1:44 into the game. A pinpoint pass by Josh Bailey set up the play.
The Panthers bounced back and tied the game at the 4:43 mark when Jimmy Hayes potted his first of the night and 14th of the season. The first period ended in a 1-1 tie with each team managing 12 shots on goal.
Each team also scored once in the second period with Erik Gudbranson giving Florida a 2-1 lead at the 10:15 mark while Lee answered with his second of the game and 15th of the season 2:30 later.
The Panthers took control of the game early in the third period. They outshot the Islanders 8-1 early in the period and took advantage of the Isles’ shaky penalty kill when Hayes scored a power play goal just 2:10 into the final stanza.
The Isles managed some shots in the second half of the period, but couldn’t get the equalizer. An empty-net goal by Brandon Pirri with just 1:23 left in the game clinched the win for the Panthers.
Isles’ coach Jack Capuano was frustrated that his team didn’t take advantage of their scoring opportunities. “We had our chances in front of the net but for whatever reasons, certain guys are just passing chances up. I don’t get it.”
Capuano wasn’t the only frustrated person in the Islanders’ locker room. “We just weren’t executing very well,” captain John Tavares said. “It seemed like pucks were bouncing on us. We were just not making the plays we usually make and they were slowing us down a little at times. They had more jump than us tonight.”
The Islanders return to action Thursday night when they travel to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers. It is the first stop on a three-game road trip that will take the Isles to Boston and Buffalo.
Hall of Famers Denis Potvin and Bill Torrey were at the game as was ex-Isles center Billy Carroll. This may be the last visit to the Nassau Coliseum for both Potvin and Torrey who are now working for the Panthers.
Attendance was 14,704.
The Islanders wore a modified version of their infamous “fisherman” jersey during pre-game warmups.