Isles Power Play Not Enough In Fifth Straight Loss

 

The New York Islanders went into tonight's game against the Carolina Hurricanes with the hopes of ending a four-game losing streak before heading back to Madison Square Garden on Thursday night for their Valentine's Day re-match with the New York Rangers. Despite ending their scoreless power play streak, the Islanders would add another tally to the loss column with a 6-4 defeat on home ice.

Frans Nielsen opened the scoring with a power play goal just 2:48 into the hockey game with assists coming from Josh Bailey and Travis Hamonic. But former Islanders Tim Wallace would tie the game a little over mid-way through the first period, sending both teams to their respective locker rooms in a draw.

The middle frame would prove to be a wild one. John Tavares scored the Isles second power play goal after jumping on a rebound in front. Matt Moulson and Lubomir Visnovsky earned the helpers. But Canes forward Jeff Skinner would knot it up at two less than 30 seconds later with a snap shot in the high slot that Rick DiPietro never saw.

The Isles would then kill of a 4-on-3 disadvantage before getting another power play of their own. This time Matt Moulson would be found all alone in front of Canes net-minder Cam Ward. Tavares and Brad Boyes worked hard along the wall to dig the puck free and create an easy one-timer to give the Isles the lead for the third time in the game.

But it wasn't enough. Jiri Tlusty would score his second goal of the season exactly thirty seconds into the third period after Travis Hamonic inadvertently re-directed his shot off his shoulder and into the back of the net behind DiPietro to tie the game up at three.

Alexander Semin and Eric Staal would add two more goals to give the Canes a 5-3 lead by the 9:09 mark of the period. But the Islanders power play would provide a glimmer of hope with their fourth goal of the night coming from Moulson once again, who re-directed Visnovsky's slap shot at the top of the left face-off circle. Mark Streit had the other assist.

"You get four power play goals in a game and that's a game you got to win," said Moulson after the loss. "I think we gave it away, we gave them the momentum right at the start of the period with that goal, they got a lucky bounce on the other one and then they score on a face-off. We can't put ourselves in that position. I think we've learned that by now but we got to come away with two points."

Tlusty would add an empty net goal to solidify the 6-4 win for the Canes, and ultimately the collapse for the Islanders. 

DiPietro, who was making his first start since January 25th, knocked aside 25 of 30 shots in the loss.

Head coach Jack Capuano was visibly frustrated with his hockey team after the game. He hinted that some lines could be shuffled before Thursday's game with the Rangers, and continued to explain that his team has to work collectively on all four cylinders if they are going to win these close games.

"I'm getting repetitious standing up here, but for us to be successful we have to have all twenty guys going," said Capuano. "I thought some guys were soft tonight. I thought we didn't win many puck battles."

And the Isles will have an even greater battle when they head to New York City to take on one of the hottest teams in the Atlantic Division. When I asked Moulson if a game against their biggest rival could be the trick to end the losing streak, all he had to say was:

"I hope - we don't have a choice, it has to. We needed two [points]."

If the Isles continue to have passengers in their line-up, two points will continue to escape them.

-Rob McGowan

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