Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
The game-winning goal came 1:51 into the overtime period, as Max Pacioretty tipped a pass from David Desharnais past Evgeni Nabokov from inside the slot. The goal capped off a defensive-minded game that saw neither team find the back of the net in regulation.
There were several instances where it looked as though either side was going to grab hold of the lead, but neither Nabokov nor Carey Price allowed a goal in the regulation period.
“Defensively, we did a lot of good things,” Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “Offensively we had our chances. A couple of odd-man rushes, a couple of two-on-ones. We just can’t find the back of the net right now. Both teams played pretty structured tonight, but they got the one when they needed it.”
Compared to Thursday’s game in Phoenix , the Islanders played a much more defensively-sound game against the Canadiens. They also were a big help to Nabokov, who started off the game a bit shaky and had some trouble controlling rebounds.
“I thought the guys did a hell of a job around the net and in the neutral zone,” Nabokov said. “It was a pretty tight game and we did a lot of good things defensively.”
Despite those positives, the Islanders still could not find a way to win. As Capuano said, the Islanders had chances, but were unable to find the back of the net. Scoring continues to be something the Islanders lack, even with the addition of Ryan Strome, who made his NHL debut tonight.
“We’re just not getting really great scoring chances,” John Tavares said. “Teams are doing some good things to make it difficult, but we have got to find ways to generate some more, and some better, areas. I thought we had some good guys go to the net, but we need to try and create more space somehow.
“We’re obviously having a tough time doing that, so our power play has got to be better… Better game, but expectations are to win and we didn’t get the job done.”
The latest loss now has the Islanders losing 12 of their last 13 games and puts their record at 9-19-16. They are just seven points in front of the Buffalo Sabres, who are 30th in the NHL.