The New York Islanders winless streak reached five games as the Isles dropped a 4-3 decision to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday evening at the Canadian Tire Centre. Anders Lee (power play), Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock found the back of the net for the Islanders, but Ottawa rallied from a 2-1 deficit three straight goals to seal the victory. Connor Brown, Mikkel Boedker (shorthanded), Anthony Duclair and Brady Tkachuk (game-winner) scored for the Senators.
"I thought we got off to a good start," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "Our power play got an early goal and then we took a few penalties. I thought that gave them some momentum the rest of that period. I thought that shorthanded goal was a little bit of a turning point for me, but I thought we stayed with it. I thought we played a pretty good [second] period. Then, unfortunately, we go down a puck and they're obviously pressing. Then, late in the game we go down a fourth goal. We've just got to fight through it. It's really disappointing."
Tkachuk scored the eventual winner 3:05 to play in the third period to put Ottawa up 4-2, but the Isles didn't go down without a fight. With two minutes remaining in regulation, the Isles pulled Semyon Varlamov in exchange for the extra skater. Pulock revived the Isles hopes as he blasted a one-timer past Ottawa netminder Craig Anderson from the point, but the effort was too little too late. The wins are not coming easy as the Islanders have gone (0-3-2) in their last five games and tonight's loss especially stung.
"You just need wins at this time [of year]," Barzal said. "It doesn't matter if there's stuff to build off of or not. Unfortunately, we didn't tonight. It's just the way it goes sometimes. It's a game of bounces. We're just not getting them right now."
Video: NYI Recap: Barzal, Islanders drop fifth straight game
The Islanders jumped out to an early 1-0 start as they converted on their first power play of the night 3:58 into the game. After Brock Nelson drew a tripping penalty on Bobby Ryan, Barzal worked the puck behind the net to set up an easy-tap in for Lee on the doorstep. The goal was their fourth conversion on the power-play in the last five games and Lee's 20th tally of the season.
Connor Brown evened the score 1-1 for the Senators at 13:57 into the first period. A failed zone clear by the Isles popped out to the stick of Nikita Zaitsev. Zaitsev wound up and blasted the one-timer from the point towards Varlamov. The high point shot created a scuffle near the net front where Brown buried the rebound.
The Islanders controlled the second period with a 17-7 shot edge, but two costly mistakes forced them to chase the game in the third period.
Barzal initially restored the Isles lead 2-1 at 4:18, as he took a pass from Jordan Eberle and beat Anderson with his wrist-shot snipe from the high slot.
Video: OTT 4 vs NYI 3: Barry Trotz
The Isles relinquished their third shorthanded goal in two games as the Senators tied the score 2-2 midway through the second period. A turnover at the Isles blueline and a relentless forechecking effort by Boedker that resulted in the Senators tying the score and deflating the Isles third power play of the night.
Ottawa took its first lead of the night with just under four minutes left in the second period. Duclair took advantage of an Isles turnover at the blueline and buried his 23rd of the season in his first game back since Feb. 24 after being sidelined with an ankle injury. Jayce Hawryluk sprung Duclair at the blueline and carried it down ice and snapped his shot from inside the right faceoff circle bar down past Varlamov.
Tkachuk scored the game-winning goal late in the third period, keeping and shooting on a two-on-one rush at 16:55.
Video: OTT 4 vs NYI 3: Mathew Barzal
STRONG SHOWING FOR BARZAL:
Barzal posted a three-point outing (1G, 2A) as he showcased one of his strongest two-way performances of the season. The Isles scoring leader, with 59 points through 66 games, snapped a 14-game goal drought dating back to Feb. 4. During that span without a goal, the Isles shifty centerman still compiled 12 assists, but was rewarded for his explosive offense and detailed defense on Thursday as he found the back of the net for the 19th time this season.
"I thought Mathew was the best player on the ice today, for me," Trotz said. "He was dynamic, he was skating, he was on the right side of the puck, he was setting up people, he was dangerous all night."
Video: OTT 4 vs NYI 3: Pageau
PAGEAU'S EMOTIONAL RETURN TO OTTAWA:
It was an emotional scene, to say the least, as Jean-Gabriel Pageau returned to his hometown and former team of seven years for the first time since being acquired by the Islanders at the NHL trade deadline.
The Senators played moving first period video tribute for Pageau that brought the whole arena to their feet as a nostalgic and genuine Pa-geau! Pa-geau! Pa-geau! Pa-geau! Pa-geau chant broke out. Pageau was encouraged by his Isles teammates to take the ice and wave at the crowd's applause as he took in the moment.
"It was a great mark of respect from my teammates," Pageau said. "The appreciation from all of the fans and my ex-teammates was really touching. There was a lot going through my mind. I was trying to stay focused on the game. I can thank everyone now and turn the page and focus on the rest of the season."
Video: NYI@OTT: Pulock hammers Barzal one-timer home late
DOBSON RETURNS TO THE LINEUP:
With Johnny Boychuk out of the lineup after suffering an errant skate blade to the face that required 90 stitches against Montreal on Tuesday, rookie defenseman Noah Dobson drew into the lineup for the first time since Feb. 27. Dobson was paired alongside Andy Greene and logged 14:20, had two blocks, one hit and two shots on goal.
CLUTTERBUCK SITS OUT THIRD PERIOD:
Cal Clutterbuck did not play in the third period. Trotz confirmed the Isles were down to 11 forwards as Clutterbuck was injured. No further update was provided.
Clutterbuck played alongside Otto Koivula and Matt Martin and saw 5:55 time on ice including 1:42 time shorthanded and had two hits.
The Islanders take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at NYCB Live. Puck drop is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.