UNIONDALE, N.Y. (Feb. 11, 2013) – For the first time since Feb. 7, 2006, the New York Islanders tallied four power-play goals. But, it did not prove to be enough, as a four-goal third period by the Carolina Hurricanes solidified a 6-4 win on the road in an Eastern Conference clash Monday night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. As a result, the Isles dropped their fifth in a row, and fell to 4-7-1 on the year.
In the first frame, New York quickly ended a 0-for-22 power-play drought, lighting the lamp just 2:48 into the period. With 30 ticks to go on a Jordan Staal slashing penalty, Travis Hamonic played the puck around the boards to Josh Bailey, who found Frans Nielsen in the slot. Nielsen then wristed a quick shot by Carolina netminder Cam Ward for a 1-0 Isles’ lead. That tally turned out to be the hosts’ lone goal of the stanza.
Despite being doubled up in the shot department (12-6) in the opening 20 minutes of action, the Hurricanes returned the offensive intensity to sender. With 6:18 to go in the period, the visitors tied it up. Jamie McBain ripped a shot toward the net, which deflected off of two Islanders, Tim Wallace’s skate, and eventually behind New York’s Rick DiPietro. Upon review, the marker was upheld, as Wallace’s skate was not going forward.
During the second frame, the action certainly picked up, as the match saw five different players sent to the penalty box, and three goals in the first 7:56. The Islanders struck first, re-gaining the lead off a score with the man advantage by John Tavares. Tavares picked up his seventh goal of the season, as he flipped a Moulson rebound into the twine. Lubomir Visnovsky was credited with an assist, which was his first point as an Islander.
Less than 30 seconds later, the Hurricanes fired right back to knot the contest up at 2-apiece. Staal gave the puck back to a trailing Jeff Skinner, who wristed a shot by DiPietro from just inside the blue line. However, a mistake by the Carolina defense let New York go back in front with 7:46 to go. Moulson one-timed a cross-ice pass from Brad Boyes into the top-right 90 for a 3-2 lead. The Isles would take that advantage into the break.
The ‘Canes nearly tied things up again though in the dwindling minutes of the period. The duo of Skinner and Marc Staal combined for three attempts over a stretch of 3:35, but were unable to beat DiPietro. Tim Gleason also had a chance for the equalizer, with 4:21 left. His backhand try, however, was also stoned by DiPietro.
In the third stanza, it was all Carolina from the get-go, as Jiri Tlusty netted the equalizer just 30 seconds in. He deflected in an Alexander Semin play toward the net, making it a 3-3 game. More than five minutes later, Semin got on the board to give the Hurricanes a slight 4-3 cushion. In the process of sending a cross-rink pass, Semin’s feed bounced off of New York defenseman Travis Hamonic, and fluttered into the twine.
The Hurricanes didn’t stop there, as Tlusty got his second tally of the contest, and third of the year with 10:51 to go. This time, he re-directed a Jay Harrison shot just inside the right post for some insurance. The Islanders managed to cut the deficit to one though, with plenty of time still left in regulation. A Visnovsky slapper from the point found the left corner of the goal at the 8:28 mark. The marker was also his first as a member of the Isles.
That would be the closest that New York would get to a comeback though. Tlusty secured the hat trick, as he picked up the empty-netter with 11 seconds remaining, which sent the Coliseum crowd home for the evening.
“They scored early, and got as lucky with the bounces as you can get,” said Moulson. “We can’t put ourselves in that situation.” He later added about the team’s brilliant power-play effort: “We did a good job of getting the puck to the net. We should be scoring that many (goals) every night…We just have to get wins. Two points, nothing less.”
For the contest, the ‘Canes held a 31-28 advantage in shots, while the Isles owned a 34-31 edge in the faceoff circle. On the other hand, New York also totaled 19 giveaways, to Carolina’s one. Both teams earned six takeaways apiece.
“It isn’t good enough,” Head Coach Jack Capuano stated. “It is getting repetitious. To be successful, we need to have all 20 guys going, and we did not have that tonight.”
Between the pipes, DiPietro had a game-high 25 saves. Ward turned aside 24 shots.
“I thought we played hard,” DiPietro stated. “Our power play did a good job tonight…We just need to continue to work hard. The only thing you can control in the game is your work ethic.”
Capuano and the Islanders look to get back on track on Thursday (Feb. 14), when they face their hated Atlantic Division rivals, the New York Rangers, in an unloving Valentine’s Day match-up. The puck drops at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m.