The New York Islanders dropped the first game of their three-game California swing on Wednesday, falling 3-2 to the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.
Brock Nelson scored a pair of goals for the Islanders, while Josh Ho-Sang picked up a pair of assists in the loss, but it was not enough to overcome goals from Andrew Cogliano, Rickard Rakell and Patrick Eaves and 39 saves from John Gibson.
"We have to get some pucks in and find a way because these are games that I feel like we should win," Head Coach Doug Weight said.
The Islanders peppered Gibson with 41 shots on Wednesday night, but were fighting an uphill battle for most of the night. The Islanders put 21 shots on net in the first period, but only after Cogliano put the Ducks ahead 37 seconds into the game.
Video: Condensed Game: Islanders @ Ducks
"You can't go down in the first shift," Ho-Sang said. "You don't want to be behind at any point, but especially early in the game. It's just tough when you're crawling out of a hole the whole game."
Nelson got the Islanders into a tie before the end of the first period, deflecting home a Scott Mayfield point shot, but the Ducks responded in the second period. Rakell put the Ducks up 2-1 at 8:39, deflecting a Cam Fowler shot past Jaroslav Halak (27 saves).
"It was 1-1 and we needed to come out a little stronger," Nelson said. "They came out with a good push and we weren't able to regather that same momentum we had in the first."
Video: NYI@ANA: Nelson buries wrister for second tally
Eaves extended the Ducks lead to 3-1 with a one-timer 5:32 into the third period, but Nelson's second of the game put the Islanders back within striking distance. Weight did his part too, buying the Islanders some more time by successfully overturning a Ducks goal with eight-and-a-half minutes to play in the third.
The good bounce wasn't enough, as the Islanders were unable to force overtime and earn a point like they did Monday against St. Louis.
"We got a lucky bounce with that offside call," Mayfield said. "In the end we just have to finish more pucks, we got the shots we needed especially in the first there. They're a physical team and we have to match that with our speed. Our speed and skill should take over that game."
NOTES AND NUMBERS:
- Wednesday's loss ended the Islanders four-game winning streak against the Ducks.
- The Islanders are now 1-1 in coach's challenges this season. The Islanders were unable to overturn Vladimir Tarasenko's second goal on Monday vs St. Louis.
- Josh Ho-Sang recorded his first two-assist game on Wednesday, picking up a pair of secondary helpers on both of Nelson's goals.
- The Islanders power play went 0-5 on Wednesday while the penalty kill went 4-4
The Islanders continue their three-game California trip in San Jose on Saturday night. Puck drop is at 10:30 p.m. eastern time.