It seemed fitting that Saturday's 6-5 shootout between the New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks should end with one, though it was not the result the Isles were looking for, as Jakob Silfverberg's game-deciding goal in the third round capped a back-and-forth affair.
Seven Islanders had multi-point games, but for the first time under Barry Trotz, the Islanders lost a game when scoring four-or-more goals (38-0-1). The coach felt that the loss was self-inflicted, even if he was relatively happy with the Isles play five-on-five.
"We played a pretty game and then all of the mistakes we made tonight gave them opportunities and they scored," Anders Lee said. "A frustrating one in that sense because everything they got we either turned it over or something like that. Clean those areas up and we should be fine. It was just tough to lose in the shootout."
Video: NYI Recap: Leddy, Islanders edged by Ducks in SO
The teams traded leads back and forth all game long. Lee opened the scoring as finished a cross-ice feed from Mathew Barzal at 1:50, but the Ducks responded with two goals late - a power-play goal from Max Comtois and a shorthanded goal from Sam Carrick - in the first period to take a 2-1 lead.
Brock Nelson's power-play goal tied the score 2-2 before the end of the first period, but Adam Henrique made it 3-2 at 5:23 of the second with a redirection in tight. Barzal tied the score 3-3, sprinting up the ice, gloving a feed from Lee and sidestepping a John Gibson pokecheck before roofing a backhander. The highlight reel goal was Barzal's team-leading 15th of the season and marked the second goal of the evening the Isles top line had combined on a goal.
Nick Leddy, who had a three-point game, briefly put the Isles ahead 4-3, snapping a Nelson feed high past Gibson, but Silfverberg tied the score at 14:41. The Isles challenged for goalie interference, as Devin Shore made contact with Varlamov, but the call on the ice stood.
Cam Fowler had the Ducks up 5-4 at 10:19 of the third, but Pulock forced overtime with a power-play goal - a big slap shot through Gibson - at 13:19.
In the shootout, Josh Bailey scored the lone goal for the Islanders, while Comtois and Silfverberg each beat Varlamov. The Isles dropped to 3-1 in shootouts this season.
"This one was a lot on us where we can manage it better," Trotz said. "We didn't manage it as well as we could."
Video: ANA@NYI: Barzal pots superb goal in 200th NHL game
TOP LINE SHOWS CHEMISTRY:
The Islanders top line of Anders Lee, Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle was in fine form offensively on Saturday afternoon, as the trio combined for six points (2G, 4A). Barzal and Lee each finished the game with a goal and an assist, while Eberle contributed a pair of assists. All three forwards combined on the two goals the top line scored.
The chemistry was reminiscent of last spring's first round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Saturday marked the second straight game the line was reunited.
"Boston was pretty tight checking and tonight was pretty loose and I thought we beared down and played both styles pretty well," Barzal said of his line. "I thought we could have had four or five, so I guess we can build off that."
However, the line was on the ice for three of the Ducks' five goals, which was a point of discussion after the game.
"They went in for us tonight," Lee said. "We try to create chances every night and get things to go. Unfortunately, we were out there for too many on again. As a line, we've also go to clear that up too."
Video: ANA@NYI: Barzal, Lee team up for pretty goal
GOALIE ROTATION ENDS:
Semyon Varlamov got the start for Saturday's matinee, marking the first time this season an Islanders goalie had made consecutive starts. Varlamov stopped 23 shots in the loss.
Trotz said it was planned in advance for Varlamov to get Saturday's start, though the Isles goalie earned the chance after going 4-0-0 in his previous four starts.
The Islanders take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday in their final game before the Christmas break.