Whether it's at home or on the road, nothing is going right for the New York Islanders.
After failing to collect a point on a three-game road trip, the Islanders opened a four-game homestand Wednesday night and fell short again in a 3-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Things aren't going to get any easier for the Islanders either. The three opponents remaining on their homestand are the Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.
"It's frustrating for those guys in there right now, because they are working," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "When you work hard and you don't get results, it's an emotional roller coaster, let's face it. Mentally, it's tough. You've got to find a way and you've got to keep working, because that's the only way you're gonna get out of it."
Mark Stuart, Andrew Ladd and Devin Setoguchi scored in a 5:15 span of the second period for the Jets (12-11-4), who improved to 2-0-0 on their six-game Eastern trip after beating the New Jersey Devils on Monday. Former Islanders goalie Al Montoya made 28 saves for the victory and helped the Jets hang on after building a 3-0 lead in the second period.
"It felt really good," Montoya said. "It was especially great to win here against the organization that gave me a chance in the NHL."
Stuart broke a scoreless tie 11:27 into the second period. After Jets center James Wright won a faceoff in the Islanders zone against Casey Cizikas, Stuart collected the puck near the left point and fired a shot that found its way through a crowd and past Poulin's glove to give Winnipeg a 1-0 lead. It was Stuart's first goal of the season.
Ladd doubled the Jets' lead at 14:39 on his seventh goal of the season. Islanders defenseman Matt Donovan turned the puck over in the neutral zone, which allowed the Jets to break the other way. Ladd ended up being left all alone in front of the net and finished off a give-and-go with Bryan Little by backhanding a shot past Poulin to make it 2-0.
"It's a costly turnover," Capuano said. "I don't think either team generated a whole lot in the second period, to be honest with you. The first and third, there were some chances. But it just goes to show you that one play can cost you a game."
Setoguchi made it a three-goal game 2:03 later. Jets defenseman Keaton Ellerby took a pass from Mark Scheifele and let go a slap shot from the right point that Setoguchi was able to redirect past Poulin for his sixth goal of the season.
The three goals were the most in a period by the Jets on the road this season.
"We gave them too many opportunities," Poulin said.
The Islanders got one back before the end of the second period via the power play. After Olli Jokinen took a boarding penalty in the offensive zone, Thomas Vanek sent a feed to MacDonald at the point, where the latter ripped a slap shot past Montoya to make it 3-1. It was MacDonald's second goal of the season.
Tavares, who had the second assist on MacDonald's goal, cut the deficit to one with 5:59 left in regulation when he knocked down a pass by teammate Matt Carkner, bulled his way to the front of the net and jammed the puck through Montoya's five-hole for his 11th of the season.
New York got a golden opportunity to tie the game when Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba was called for hooking at 14:54. The Islanders generated three shots on goal, but failed to score.
"It's just not good enough," Tavares said. "Our intensity and the little things … taking hits to make plays, all the little things that make a big difference in a game over a long run, we're just not doing. We're not creating our breaks or our opportunities. It seems like we're just waiting for them to happen, and they're not gonna come until the consistent effort for each and every shift is there."
Winnipeg continues its road trip Friday morning against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Islanders host the Red Wings on Friday afternoon.
"I think the good thing is we're finding a way to win the game," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "Is it the ideal way to close out games? I'd have to say no, it wouldn't be. That's all part of game management. To me, that's an area where we've battled at trying to get better at that, but that's something we still have to obviously work on, because I don't like the way that we're doing it. But, I'm happy that we get the win."
Material from wire services was used in this report