Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:UNIONDALE, N.Y. — It was the same story, different night for the Islanders.
The Islanders squandered a two goal lead in the third period and fell to the Anaheim Ducks 5-3 at Nassau Coliseum. Kyle Palmieri, born on Long Island and raised in New Jersey, scored the game-winner at 13:44 of the third. The Ducks won the offensive draw and Palmieri took the puck to the net and put it past Nabokov. Ryan Getzlaf scored the empty net goal — his third of the game — in the final minute to secure the Ducks win.
It was the tenth time the Islanders have blown a lead this season.
“I think again tonight we saw again why where we are exactly in the standings,” Thomas Vanek said. “It’s a great team over there. We got a two goal lead with 20 minutes to go and gave it up. I think right now we’re not closing games and it’s costing us points.”
The contest started off promising for the Islanders. Thomas Vanek scored a rebound goal to put the Islanders in front 1-0 midway through the first, but Getzlaf tied the game up on his first of the night late in the second period. Nearly two minutes later, after killing a Ducks penalty, Vanek fired a laser past Anaheim starter Frederik Andersen.
Frans Nielsen scored 57 seconds later to make it 3-1 Islanders. The goal was the first time a Danish forward has scored on fellow Dane.
But that was not enough to hold off Anaheim. Getzlaf scored his second goal of the night 1:10 into the third period and Mathieu Perreault scored the tying goal at 10: 32. Palmieri’s game winner came three minutes and 12 seconds later. Getzlaf rounded out the score with his empty net goal at 19:38.
“This is why we’re digging ourselves a big whole,” John Tavares said. “We’re not executing in the third period, closing out games and making it hard for other teams. We have to do a better job in a lot of areas, especially in our defensive zone and in our coverage.”
The third period has not been the Islanders friend this season. Hanging onto leads in that period has been a task that has eluded the Islanders for a better part of this season. The Isles did have several scoring opportunities, including a chance redirection chance for Tavares that if it had gone in would have put the Islanders back in front by two goals.
The Islanders were not aided by the officials in the third either. Vanek even contended that the team got too wrapped up on the non-calls by the officials.
“I think we focus sometimes on the wrong things,” he said. “Two of the goals came off face-offs were both icing calls, which i don’t think were icings. But again we tend to focus on the bad stuff instead of regrouping and getting the puck out.”
Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano told reporters after the game that his team has to be able to move past officiating mistakes.
“So be it, you have to channel your energy to get ready for your next shift,” Capuano said. “You can’t get caught up in all the emotion on the officials. They’re doing the best job they can. They’re going to make mistakes.”
Capuano said the Islanders did not have the battle level they needed to have when the Ducks scored in the third.
“I know the battle level on the goals that were scored and we didn’t move the puck the way that we should have,” he said. “And thats a problem because that’s not the style that we want to play.