The New York Islanders' franchise long nine-game road trip ended with a 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night at Scottrade Center.
Nick Leddy's power-play goal with 1:29 to play put the New York Islanders in a position to tie the score in the third period, but that was as close as the Isles came. Nevertheless, the Islanders finish the marathon trip with a 5-3-1 record, a good result considering the sheer length of the trip.
"We put together a good road trip, we proved that we're a good team to ourselves on the road and we proved we're a playoff team," Interim Coach Doug Weight said. "We have some work to do now, it's a tough way to end it."
Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier also scored for the Islanders, but a three-goal second period for the Blues proved to be the difference, as the Isles paid for a handful of mistakes.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored a pair of goals and added an assist for a game-high three points, while Patrik Berglund's late second period goal ultimately held up as the game-winner. The loss combined with a Toronto Maple Leafs win bumped the Islanders out of the second wild card spot.
Video: NYI@STL: Leddy nets PPG to trim deficit
"It's about results this time of year, but we played hard," Weight said. "We deserved better. A couple ill-advised plays, a couple of soft plays in the neutral zone."
Tarasenko opened the scoring for the Blues with a power-play goal at 7:23 of the first period, as the St. Louis sniper took a cheeky no-look pass from Jaden Schwartz and beat Thomas Greiss from the face-off circle.
The Islanders thought they had the tying goal when Andrew Ladd one-timed a Brock Nelson feed past Carter Hutton, but the goal was overturned on an offside challenge by the Blues. The Islanders still had 2:50 of power-play time to work with on Dmitrij Jaskin's double-minor, but St. Louis seized the momentum killing the rest of the penalty.
The no-goal was the first of three key bounces that didn't go the Islanders' way, as St. Louis scored a pair of second period goals that bounced off Islanders sticks to open Blues. Alex Steen was the first beneficiary, as a Tarasenko pass hit Anders Lee's stick and bounced to Steen at the side of the net. Patrik Berglund's 4-1 goal also hit an Islanders stick before deflecting to Berglund in front.
"We had some chances in the second period we easily could have taken the lead ourselves, but it didn't go that way," John Tavares said. "We had a couple of breakdowns and they capitalized."
Video: NYI@STL: Nelson goes top shelf for Isles' first goal
Between the bad caroms, Nelson scored his 16th goal of the season, cleanly beating Carter Hutton upstairs from the left face-off dot and Tarasenko sniped his second of the game shortly after. Josh Ho-Sang picked up his first NHL assist on the Nelson goal and St. Louis native Scott Mayfield recorded the secondary assist in his first game in his hometown.
JF Berube relieved Greiss in the third period. Berube stopped all six shots he faced, while Greiss allowed four goals on 18 shots.
Beauvillier one-timed a Thomas Hickey drop pass off the rush past Hutton to make it 4-2 at the start of the third, while Leddy beat Hutton through traffic to make it 4-3.
Video: NYI@STL: Beauvillier rips a one-timer to trim deficit
"We fought hard, but we weren't able to get the tying goal," Tavares said. "It's tough when you're down three, but we fought hard all game and had some good chances, but just ran out of time."
"All we can do is keep trucking forward," the captain added. "We're still in a good spot… We know we're right there battling for that last wild card and there's a few other teams there. We'll be excited to be back home Monday in front of our fans."
The Islanders return home to play the Carolina Hurricanes in the first of back-to-back games on Monday night. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.