The New York Islanders were shut out for a second straight game on Thursday, falling 4-0 to the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.
Carey Price made 28 saves, while Montreal scored four goals in an 8:26, spanning the end of the first period and start of the second, sending the Isles to consecutive shutout losses for the first time since Nov. 19-21, 2011.
"Sometimes when you have your back up against the wall like we have the last six periods, it's been tough for us. We haven't played well," captain Anders Lee said. "We just have to stick together, find a way to rally and figure this out. That's all we can do. Right now it's extremely frustrating, but we have to find a way to get out of this hole."
After Tuesday's 5-0 loss to Boston, Thursday's game was uncharacteristic response for the 2018-19 Islanders, who'd been able to shrug off lopsided losses this season in the past. Unlike their bounce-back efforts in New Jersey following a 5-0 loss to the Rangers in November and in Detroit after a 6-2 loss to Pittsburgh in December, the Isles couldn't get back on a winning track in Montreal.
"We talk about how important the next game is after a loss. It's a failed opportunity tonight," Thomas Hickey said. "We're disappointed in ourselves obviously, but we have to turn it around quick. I know there's lots of teams that go through a little slump at this time of year. Two games doesn't have to be a slump, we can turn it around pretty quick."
CANADIENS SCORE FOUR GOALS IN 8:26 TO UPEND ISLES:
The Islanders were 6.3 seconds away from taking a scoreless draw into the first intermission before Joel Armia's power-play goal put Montreal up 1-0. Armia's goal, a one-timer from the slot that just squeaked through Thomas Greiss [18 saves], proved to be a momentum changer in favor of the Canadiens, the first of four goals in a 8:27 span.
Montreal came out fast in the second period, with a Shea Weber bullet making it 2-0 at the 1:03 mark of the middle frame, officially giving the Canadiens two goals in a 1:09.
Jordan Eberle had the Isles best chance to turn the tide, but his open look was robbed by Price, who just got his back skate on Eberle's try after sliding across his crease. Thirty seconds later, Jonathan Drouin capped off a three-on-two rush by sliding the puck around Greiss, extending the Canadiens' lead to 3-0. Jordan Weal deflected a Jordie Benn shot to make it 4-0 at 8:19, ending Greiss' night.
Robin Lehner came in relief of Greiss, stopping all 12 shots he faced.
The Isles were unable to break the shutout in the third period, coming as close as a Cal Clutterbuck shot off the crossbar. After Scott Mayfield took a high hit from Andrew Shaw, the Isles frustration boiled over as Hickey railroaded Brendan Gallagher before dropping the gloves with the Canadiens forward.
"I think we need to show more of that throughout 60 minutes and not just when we're down 4-0," Lee said. "We need to get back to what's made us successful in the past. Right now we're nowhere near where we need to be."
FRITZ FILLS IN FOR FIL:
Tanner Fritz filled in for Valtteri Filppula on Thursday night, assuming the third line center role between Anthony Beauvillier and Leo Komarov.
Fritz was recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Wednesday and could get an extended look as Filppula is expected to miss four weeks with an upper-body injury.
The Islanders (91 points) did not make up any ground on the idle Washington Capitals (94 points). The Pittsburgh Penguins (91 points) beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 in a shootout and moved into a tie with the Islanders for second in the Metro Division, but the Isles hold a game in hand. The Carolina Hurricanes (87 points) remain four points back after a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay.
The Islanders wrap up a two-game road trip on Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia. Puck drop is 1 p.m.