Jordan Eberle said that Monday night's 4-3 OT loss slipped away from the New York Islanders.
That was the feeling in the Islanders dressing room after a seventh straight loss (0-4-3), one where they led 2-0, fell behind 3-2, tied it with a minute left, but ultimately lost it in the extra frame on Brendan Leipsic's winner at 2:47.
"It's obviously frustrating," said Eberle, who forced overtime with a tying goal with 1:04 to play. "At the end of the day good teams win hockey games, it doesn't matter if they play well or crappy, sometimes they find a way to win and especially down the stretch here where we need points. We let that one slip away."
Josh Bailey and John Tavares built a 2-0 lead for the Islanders, who outshot the Canucks 15-6 in the opening frame and 34-23 on the night. Bailey swept a rebound past Jacob Markstom to open the scoring at 9:51 of the first period, while Tavares ripped his 31st of the season top shelf at 2:59 of the second.
Video: NYI@VAN: Tavares lasers home a power-play goal
At that point, the Islanders felt good about their game, dictating where and how the game was played, but the lead evaporated quickly in a costly 1:34 stretch late in the second. Leipsic backhanded a loose puck past Jaroslav Halak at 14:25 to get the Canucks on the board and Darren Archibald converted a penalty shot at 15:59 to tie the score 2-2.
"These little breakdowns are costing us games," Anders Lee said. "It seems every time a team does this right now against us the momentum completely shifts and we get stuck in mud for whatever reason. It's extremely frustrating."
The Canucks' momentum continued into the third period, as Jake Virtanen beat Halak on a breakaway with a low snap at 10:31. The Islanders pressed on a third period power play and tied it late on Eberle's 23rd, a tap-in after a puck caromed off his body and onto his stick at the side of the net.
Video: NYI@VAN: Eberle scores late game-tying PPG
The good bounce was a tease as a bad bounce in overtime did the Isles in. Anthony Beauvillier lost an edge in the Isles zone and Leipsic pulled the puck around a Halak poke check for the winner. With the overtime loss, the Islanders collected a point, but left an important one on the table.
"We just seem to find ways to lose," Tavares said. "We just have to find a way for a full 60 minutes to finish one out. We haven't seemed to finish games off. Whatever that is, whether it's mental or just execution of a few plays. We just have to find a way to do it. No one is going to change the outcome but us."
The Islanders (67 points) jumped over the New York Rangers in the wild card standings. They are still four points back of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final playoff spot in the east.
BARZAL TAKES A LAP:
Barzal got the standard rookie treatment for his first game back in his hometown, taking a few solo laps on the ice during warmups while the team stayed back in the tunnel.
Barzal had some extra jump in his step, twisting, turning and dangling in front of his family and friends. He got on the board in his Vancouver debut, picking up two assists his 50th and 51st assists of the season and team-leading 69th point.
The four-game road trip continues in Edmonton on Thursday night.