The New York Islanders could not overcome a three-goal deficit, falling 4-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes in preseason action Wednesday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Special teams proved to be the difference, as the Islanders conceded three power-play goals to the Hurricanes, while going 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
“We had chances on our power play, but we couldn't score,” said goaltender Jaroslav Halak. “It seemed like every time they got a power play they scored. It was one of those games where the penalty kill and power play were the main difference.”
Casey Cizikas scored a short-handed goal on a strong individual effort and Ryan Strome also scored his first of the preseason, tipping home a Griffin Reinhart point shot. Despite the late push, the third-period tallies were not enough to dig the Islanders out of the three-goal hole.
“Obviously we didn’t play very well. We were slow out of the gate,” said John Tavares. “A lot of it is just being better and being a little bit sharper than we were. They were quick on the pucks and made some plays, and we just were a little step behind.”
Ryan Murphy, Jeff Skinner and Andrej Sekera built the Hurricanes lead, scoring a power-play goal in each period. Murphy tapped in a cross-crease feed from the back door in the first period, Skinner put a rebound over an outstretched Halak in the second and Sekera blasted a point shot high on a two-man advantage in the third.
“They shot the puck on their power play,” said Head Coach Jack Capuano. “The biggest thing with our play tonight was that we didn’t shoot pucks. We beat their defense wide a couple of times, took the pucks to the net and get an opportunity and we didn’t get a puck to the net.”
Halak made 19 saves in his first game at the Coliseum as an Islander. Drew MacIntyre stopped 26-of-28 shots for the win.
The Islanders next game is Friday night when they take on the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. The Islanders return to Nassau Coliseum on Saturday, Oct. 11, when they take on the Hurricanes in their home opener.
NOTES: Lubomir Visnovsky led the Islanders with 21:38 TOI… John Tavares had a game-high six shots… Hurricanes defenseman Brett Bellemore took four penalties (three minors, one major) in a 6:19 span.