Isles Get Star Struck, Lose 3-2 To Dallas

The Islanders inability to score with the man-advantage and stay out of the penalty box would be the story for tonight's 3-2 loss to the visiting Dallas Stars. The Isles were 0-3 on the power play, two of which came at crucial moments where they needed to tie the game. Throw in their continuous trips to the sin bin and you have yourself a recipe for a poorly played hockey game.

The Islanders were down a goal at the 8:36 mark of the first period after they had just finished killing a hooking penalty to Matt Martin. Loui Eriksson scored his 11th goal of the year with the assists going to Jamie Benn and Trevor Daley. Benn took a wrister from the boards that was re-directed in front, making it almost impossible for Kevin Poulin to react in time.

Poulin, who was making his season debut between the pipes, would continue to come up big but would end up giving up two more goals in the third period. Brendan Morrow scored his fifth of the year from Steve Ott, who was a pest all night, and Mike Ribeiro. Morrow's goal would tie the game before Benn would retake the lead with Michael Ryder and Eriksson achieving the assists. This was the only goal that the rookie goaltender probably would have liked to have had back. The Stars came in a on a 3-on-1 and Benn just wristed it past Poulin's glove.

"I think I was just thinking too much. Sometimes you want to do to much and in that case he caught me low glove," said Poulin. "I was expecting maybe a pass on a 3-on-1. He didn't pass and I think, yeah, he got me."

Despite the loss, Poulin played very well and looked comfortable in net. I asked him if he felt a little bit more confident this year as opposed to last year, coming in for his second tour of duty with the Islanders.

"Yeah sure, I felt great. After a couple of first saves I really felt I was into the game. I didn't lose anything from last year. I think it was a great first game for me. They're third in the Western Conference, it's a good team. It was a good challenge for me but we didn't get the win."

The Islanders would tie the game before the end of the first period with Michael Grabner's ninth goal of the season. Frans Nielsen led the breakout by feeding Kyle Okposo the puck along the left wing boards. KO would fly through the neutral zone and throw a pass in front of the Stars' net that redirected off of Grabner's skate. After video review, the call on the ice stood and the Isles would head to the second period tied at one. 

Okposo would continue his strong play in the second period by providing his team the lead. After two failed attempts to gain the offensive zone, Marty Reasoner would find him alone at the blue line. Okposo skated in and took a shot that squeaked through Richard Bachman's five hole. He would follow up on his own rebound and poke it passed the fallen goaltender. Travis Hamonic earned the secondary assist on the play. 

But Benn, the first star of the game, would end up scoring on that 3-on-1 break at the 4:33 mark of the third period. Despite some close calls in the final five minutes of the the game, the Islanders would fall short and lose their third game in a row. 

Next up for the Isles is a road game against the red hot Minnesota Wild this Saturday at 8 PM. 

-Rob McGowan

The Checking Line - Isles Edition | Promote Your Page Too