The New York Islanders were inches away from forcing overtime on Sunday night, but ultimately fell 3-2 in regulation to the LA King at Staples Center.
With 20 seconds to play John Tavares had the puck on his stick and a look at some open net, but sent a sharp-angled shot through the crease and just out the far side. It was a bang-bang play that LA's Jeff Carter or Derek Forbort may have got a piece of, but regardless, it was a frustrating end for the captain and his team, who dropped to 1-2-0 on their swing through California.
"I just missed it," Tavares said after the game. "Obviously it's the end of the game and the ice isn't as good, but I'd like to think I can get that one in. It's a missed opportunity."
Casey Cizikas was the reason the Islanders had a fighting chance at the end of the game, as his wraparound goal on Darcy Kuemper made it 3-2 with 5:40 to play in the third period, but it was a night the Islanders spent playing from behind.
Video: NYI@LAK: Cizikas pokes puck in at the side of the net
The Islanders allowed the first goal for a fifth time to start the season, as Anze Kopitar's cross-ice pass deflected off Adam Pelech's stick and past Jaroslav Halak at 12:44 of the opening frame.
The Isles started to find their footing in the second period. Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal and Andrew Ladd's persistence around the net paid off midway through the second, with Bailey timing the score burying a loose puck at 8:56. Ladd and Barzal each hit a career milestone on Bailey's goal, with Ladd getting his 500th career point and Barzal collecting his first.
The 1-1 deadlock didn't last, as Jake Muzzin put the Kings up 2-1 with a power-play goal at 11:32, beating a screened Jaroslav Halak with a wrister from the right side. Power-play goal aside, Weight liked the response he saw from his team.
"We have to play like we did in the second period, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot a bit taking a couple of penalties right in the midst of really tilting the ice and pouring lines on them. That's how we have to play and find a way to get that consistent effort."
Video: NYI@LAK: Bailey ties game, Ladd earns 500th point
Overall, special teams were the difference on Sunday night, as the Islanders allowed both a shorthanded and a power-play goal to the Kings. Drew Doughty's game-winner - a cross-ice tap-in from Koptiar - came shorthanded, adding to the Islanders power-play frustrations.
"Regardless of having good opportunities, we have to start scoring and we have to stop giving up opportunities as well," Weight said. "It starts with shooting the puck. We have some guys who can firing it. We have to start moving around a little quicker and get some pucks to the net. They'll go in for us."
BARZAL GETS FIRST CAREER POINT:
Mathew Barzal got point number one on Sunday night, picking up an assist on Josh Bailey's second period goal.
Barzal needed eight games for his first point. The Islanders 2015 first-rounder (16th overall) was a gifted scorer in juniors, with 278 points (63G, 215A) in 202 Western Hockey League games. Barzal also led the Islanders in scoring with seven points in preseason, but getting his official first point in the show feels a little different.
"It's nice. You're just happy for a little bit there, but we were in a tight game, so I wasn't thinking about it too much," Barzal said. "Just trying to get antoher one to tie the game up. I'm sure I'll look back on it and be happy."
LADD SCORES 500TH POINT:
Andrew Ladd hit a career milestone on Sunday night, recording his 500th career NHL point.
Ladd's road to 500 points (234G, 266A) took 853 games with stops on four different franchises. He's scored 305 points (139G, 166A) in 429 games with Atlanta/Winnipeg - sixth all-time in that franchise's history - 111 (45G, 66A) with Chicago, 50 (26G, 24A) with Carolina and 34 (24G, 10A) with the Islanders. Ladd has an additional 18 points (9G, 9A) in 64 playoff games and a pair of Stanley Cups on his hockey resume.
The Islanders return to New York to play the Rangers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.