Isles 5-3 Loss A Result Of Four Goal Period For The Senators
The New York Islanders controlled about forty minutes of hockey tonight against the visiting Ottawa Senators but surrendered four unanswered goals in the final period of the game to lose 5-3 in regulation.
Matt Kassian would get the scoring started with a redirection just 6:23 into the first period after Sergei Gonchar let go of a wrister from the point to give the Sens the early lead, but Keith Aucoin would answer with his fifth goal of the year just before the end of the period.
Kyle Okposo made a nice spin around pass from behind the Sens net to find Aucoin to bury the puck through Ben Bishop's five hole. Josh Bailey had the secondary assist.
Despite the tie score, the Islanders created several turnovers in the Senators end of the ice - most notably during shifts from the Okposo-Nielsen-Bailey line.
This type of play would carry over into the second period, where Bailey buried a beautiful backhand goal with his line mates earning the helpers just 14 seconds into the middle frame. As the game inched closer to its midway point, the Isles were rewarded with a power play goal from Lubomir Visnovsky, assisted by Matt Moulson and Brad Boyes.
Evgeni Nabokov, who made 18 saves on 22 shots, knocked aside 12 alone in the second period as the Islanders' best penalty killer and, at times, game saver.
But the strong play from the net out would slowly start to falter as the Islanders went into the third period.
Although Aucoin had his second goal of the game ruled out after video review, and the Senators' game-winning goal was a result of a non-call for a puck played with a high-stick, the Islanders let a two-goal lead slip away in the third period of a game that held valuable points in the standings.
"We got to play a complete game," said Isles forward Casey Cizikas in the locker room. "That's really about it. When we're up with time left, 10 minutes, 15 minutes left in the third, we got to do whatever it takes to win games. We got to block shots, we got to get pucks deep, just play our game and we got away from that."
As a result, goals from Jakob Silfverberg, Zack Smith and Sergei Gonchar put the game in the Senators favor. The latter came with exactly one minute left in the game after the missed high-stick call. Guillaume Latendresse would add an empty netter to seal the victory for the Senators.
The officiating certainly played a factor in the outcome of the game, but Cizikas wasn't ready to point fingers or make excuses.
"I really don't know what to say about that," he said in reference to the disallowed goal. "I didn't really see a kicking motion but that's not my call. They saw one and it's something that we got to bounce back from."
But they didn't.
Head coach Jack Capuano echoed his player's sentiments about the team's work ethic and need to battle through the in-game obstacles that they face every night.
"They [the players] got to work, they got to play. We had opportunities to lay down and block some shots tonight so pucks don't get to our nets and we didn't do it. We talk about the willingness and the sacrifice, you got to play as a team; you win and lose as a team. It's disappointing."
Capuano added that he felt his team played well in spurts and was pleased with the way former struggling players, like Kyle Okposo, performed.
As a result, it's possible that he might get another chance on the Islanders top unit. Capuano also added that the Tavares line might not look the same come Thursday night when the Islanders continue their home stand against the Montreal Canadiens after playing poorly tonight.
Time will tell.