Point not well taken by Islanders in Long Island
Team expresses disappointment following shootout loss to Penguins
Robin Lehner stood on his head, Anthony Beauvillier scored his second goal in as many games at the renovated Nassau Coliseum and the New York Islanders adhered to head coach Barry Trotz’s disciplined defensive structure.
But none of it was enough to get the Islanders the two points they craved Monday night during a 2-1 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in front of a capacity crowd of 13,917 at NYCB Live in Uniondale, N.Y.
“I thought we deserved more than one point,” lamented Beauvillier, whose second-period goal stood until Derick Brassard delivered the equalizer for the Penguins early in the third period.
“I thought we did a great job tonight, especially against their top guys,” Beauvillier added. “We were physical, we were hungry on pucks. It’s just frustrating.”
That frustration reached its apex during overtime and the NHL’s game-deciding skills competition.
The Isles were held to just one shot on goal during a 4-on-3 power-play during the extra session, dropping them to 0-for-4 with the man advantage on the evening and 1-for-27 over their last 11 contests.
Lehner, who made 23 saves on the night, including several of the spectacular variety during the opening 20 minutes, was unable to stop Jake Guentzel’s winning tally in the fifth and final round of the shootout.
It marked the second straight start in which Lehner yielded just one goal in regulation, only to take the loss in a shootout.
“I thought he made some real difficult saves really early and at key moments,” Trotz said of Lehner, who was out with what the team called a “tweak” suffered in practice following a 2-1 shootout loss in Boston back on Nov. 29.
“It was a good game for him to come back,” Trotz added. “Our disappointment is we didn’t get the two points.”
By leaving the one point behind, the Isles (14-11-4) slipped back into a third-place tie with Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division standings. They are five points behind first-place Washington, the team Trotz coached to its first-ever Stanley Cup title a season ago.
New York did manage to keep Sidney Crosby and company off the scoresheet on four power-play chances, but it was the man-advantage chance in overtime that cost the Isles a shot at moving ahead in the standings.
“You get that opportunity at that point in the game, you can dictate a game that way and we weren’t able to do that,” said defenseman Ryan Pulock, who uncorked five shots from the point during the power play, only one of which made its way through to Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith, who matched Lehner with 23 saves.
Following their second visit to the “New Old Barn”, the Isles will return to the Barclays Center on Wednesday night to host the defending Western Conference champion Las Vegas Golden Knights.
The Isles have lost five of their last seven contests but will be looking to pick up points in their third straight game against Vegas.
Team captain Anders Lee, who had scored a goal in four straight contests before being held out of the net for the past two, had a more upbeat outlook on Monday night’s defeat.
“It’s a 1-1 hockey game against a good team that ends in a shootout,” Lee said. “For the most part, we played a good game. It was a statement game for us. We were moving our feet and working hard.”
Isle Have Another: Enigmatic winger Josh Ho-Sang was recalled from AHL Bridgeport for Monday’s game but never touched the ice. The Isles’ first-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft has made headlines for all the wrong reasons during his tenure with the organization, calling out former general manager Garth Snow for his lack of time with the big-league squad and even oversleeping on the first day of training camp back in 2015. But Trotz, who made Ho-Sang a healthy scratch Monday, indicated that the 22-year-old is not being treated differently than any other minor-league callup. “There’s no one in the organization that wants to see Josh Ho-Sang fail and not be a good player,” Trotz told Newday. “He had to take a step back and grow on and off the ice. I think he’s done that. Now, the process is, can he step forward? If he’s in, play well. If he’s not, how do you react to that? I’d like to see him shoot the puck more. He’s got two goals in the AHL. That’s not enough.” Ho-Sang, who was accumulated 26 points for Bridgeport thus far this year, is entering the final year of his original rookie contract. … Veteran forwards Cal Clutterbuck and Jordan Eberle both left Monday night’s game in the third period with undisclosed injuries. There was no update on their status for Wednesday night’s game against the Golden Knights.