The New York Islanders felt they had played one of their better games of late, but in the end it was a familiar, frustrating result, as they fell 4-3 to the Edmonton Oilers in a shootout on Saturday night at Barclays Center.
Nick Leddy, Shane Prince and Casey Cizikas each scored, giving the Islanders a pair of leads on Saturday, but the combination of bad bounces and power-play goals let the Oilers back into the game. For the second straight game the Islanders got a point and a stellar effort from Jaroslav Halak in overtime, but like Thursday, the Islanders couldn't find a way to score in the shootout. Mark Letestu netted the game-decider for the Oilers in the third round.
"We played with some good energy, I don't think we gave them a lot," John Tavares said. "Obviously some tough breaks on their goals."
The Islanders had their chances to win it late. Cal Clutterbuck's shot through traffic caught the toe of Cam Talbot's skate with four minutes to play in the third period. Tavares had the Islanders' two best looks in overtime, dangling Benoit Pouliot and then glancing a shot off Talbot's blocker with 20 seconds to play. In the shootout, Nick Leddy, Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera were all stopped by Talbot.
"I just didn't get all of it. I thought I had him beat on the stick side, I don't think he got much of it," Tavares said. "We just have to keep working and find a way to break through."
Video: EDM@NYI: Leddy scores 13 seconds into game
The night started well for the Islanders, who scored the opening goal 13 seconds into the game. Clutterbuck, who was riding shotgun with Tavares on the top line, worked a cross-ice feed to a pinching Leddy, who capitalized on the early chance.
The Islanders continued pressing, as Talbot just squeezed his pads tight enough to stop Brock Nelson from going five-hole on a breakaway. The Oilers' goalie had no answer for Prince shortly after, as Prince roofed a loose puck past Talbot at 5:49.
Video: EDM@NYI: Prince follows up play, puts in rebound
The hot start conjured memories of the Islanders 8-1 win over the Oilers last season, but this year's Edmonton squad responded with two goals of their own, tying the score before the end of the period. Patrick Maroon redirected a Matthew Benning shot past Jaroslav Halak at 8:22, as puck luck turned on the Islanders, as Maroon's shot deflected off a body to an open Leon Draisaitl, whose power-play goal tied the game at 12:13.
The Islanders had a chance to build their lead early in the second period, but couldn't convert on back-to-back power plays. Cizikas eventually put the Islanders ahead 3-2 by cleaning up a Dennis Seidenberg rebound at 11:18, but that lead did not last, despite the Islanders outshooting the Oilers 9-4 in the period.
Video: EDM@NYI: Cizikas buries rebound to take lead in 2nd
Again, the Oilers used their power play, with Milan Lucic bullying his way to the net and chipping home a loose puck at 16:50. While the Islanders struggled on the power play, they were tight at even strength, only allowing 19 even strength shots against the Oilers.
"I give the guys credit they worked extremely hard, they played systematically sound, giving up 19 shots even strength against a really good hockey team," Capuano said. We limited their chances, but for whatever reason right now, our puck luck is not going our way."
"It was a special teams battle tonight," Capuano said. "We struggled a little bit on the power play and they got the power-play goals. That's the way it goes."
Other positives from Saturday included Halak's performance in OT, as the Isles goalie made five saves, including a pair of big-time stops on Jordan Eberle and Connor McDavid.
Video: EDM@NYI: Halak denies Eberle in OT
Eberle pulled the puck around a sliding Leddy, setting up a one-on-one with Halak in tight, but the Isles goalie didn't bite on a flurry of moves, staying with him, reaching out and knocking down the would-be winner. McDavid made his own moves and tried to stuff the puck around a downed Halak, but he held his skates firm against the post.
"Right now it just seems like things aren't going our way, but we have to create our luck," Halak said. "Obviously we can talk about bad bounces here and then, but we have to create our own bounces, our own luck and we have to go it next game."
HAMONIC LEAVES GAME:
Travis Hamonic (upper body) left Saturday's game after the first period and did not return. Capuano said he'll be re-evaluated on Sunday.
DEFENSEMEN SET ISLES RECORD:
Nick Leddy's first period goal marked the eighth-straight game with a goal for an Islanders defenseman - a new club record.
The Islanders wrap up a five-game homestand on Monday night, when they host the Vancouver Canucks at 7 p.m.