Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
Matt Stajan scored with 5:32 remaining in the game to put the Flames ahead 3-2, but it came down to the Islanders just not capitalizing on scoring chances. The Isles power play went 0-4 on the night and has been shutout the last 28 times they’ve had the man advantage.
“We find ways to lose games more than we find ways to win them,” said Islander Captain John Tavares. “And it’s one we let slip away.”
Calgary started off the game slow and disinterested for a large chunk of the first and second periods. The Islanders outshot the Flames 22-11 through the first two periods, but it was the Flames that struck first late in the second period.
Sean Monahan was the recipient of a lucky bounce. The puck bounced off the back of one of his teammates and landed right in front him. Monahan quickly shot it off the crossbar and into the net at 14:15.
Denis Wideman made it 2-0 at 18:08 of the second, but the Islanders found an answer with 6.1 seconds left in the period. Thomas Hickey scored a rebound goal to pull the Islanders within one.
Calvin de Haan scored 7:31 into the third period to tie the game, but the tie would only last a few moments. David Jones scored the game winner for Calgary, although it could be argued that it was goaltender interference since it looked as though Evgeni Nabokov was being run into by a Flames player.
“At first I thought it was a high stick,” Hickey explained when asked about his thoughts on the go ahead goal. “On the replay I guess it wasn’t a high stick. Nabby felt he got pushed. [The officials] said our D pushed him in. I’d have to look at it again, but we felt like their guy was moving in and pushing Nabby into the net.”
The Flames added and empty netter with three seconds left to seal the win.
“It’s really frustrating,” Hickey later said about the loss. “Especially as the game went on I thought there were parts of our game that got better. Our power play got better after a rough start, but it’s frustrating because you need those points.”
The lack of power play production played a big role in Thursday’s loss. The Islanders have not had a goal on the man advantage since January against the New York Rangers.
Despite the lack of success on the power play, Tavares said he didn’t believe it wasn’t functioning.
“I think we’re getting chances and we’re just not putting them in,” he said. “We’re shooting the puck and sometimes it doesn’t go in. Sometimes it does. Obviously it can be a little sharper. Always can be better, but to say it’s not producing anything is wrong. But clearly it’s costing us some hockey games.”