The New York Islanders lost a 2-1 first period lead on Tuesday as they faced the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Nassau Coliseum. This is the second loss in a row since the Islanders started the season 4-0, but Captain John Tavares doesn’t seem too worried about the current slump.
“It’s a long season,” Tavares said. “After four games we weren’t winning the Stanley Cup and after six games we’re not winning it. We’re disappointed with our effort and our overall game, but tomorrow is a day to get better and we have a couple of big games this week, so we have to be ready and we have to bounce back.”
Nick Leddy scored the opening goal at the 2:48 mark of the first period from the slot, beating Jonathan Bernier low on his glove side. After a streak down the ice, Thomas Hickey would give the puck to Ryan Strome bellow the left circle. A trailing Leddy would skate into the slot with no defender, receive a pass and take a wrist shot that would find the back of the net and give the Islanders the 1-0 lead.
Almost to the half-way mark of the period, James van Riemsdyk would even the score at 1-1 after an odd bounce off the end boards set up a beautiful pass from Phil Kessel.
With five minutes left in the period, Tavares would score off a rebound from Fran Nielsen. The Islanders would have a power play opportunity after a slashing penalty from Joffrey Lupul and score almost immediately after he got to the box. Kyle Okposo would win the faceoff sending it back to Tavares who then sent the puck to Nielsen at the blue line. Nielsen would take a slap shot which would rebound off Bernier’s left pad right to the stick of Tavares who would beat Bernier on his stick side for the lead going into the second period. That would be Tavares’ third goal and 10th point of the season.
The Leafs would capitalize off of some sloppy play in the neutral zone almost half way into the second period, resulting in four goals. Phil Kessel would find the back of the night twice after using his speed to streak down the right side of the ice, sending a wrist shot past Jaroslav Halak on his stick side. Roman Polak would score the second goal of the period after receiving a pass in the slot and taking a shot after a quick spin away from his defender. David Clarkson would score another goal for the Leafs after taking a shot from the point that would sail through traffic and beat a screened Halak.
The third period would be dominated by the Islanders, but only close calls would be produced. Chad Johnson would start between the pipes for the final period and would stop all five Leaf attempts. The Islanders would find many chances to put the puck to the back of the net but would come up short on every attempt, not giving them any momentum to avenge their early lead.
“Not good enough,” Travis Hamonic said. “We have a new standard in this dressing room. We’ve had our fair share of that in the past and we have to make it our mission not to let it happen again.”
The Islanders travel to the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on Oct. 23, where they will take on the Boston Bruins. The Islanders will have to take more care in protecting the puck and preventing turnovers if they want to stop the bleeding on some early losses. Puck will drop at 7 p.m. ET.