The New York Islanders gave up the tying goal with under a minute to go, eventually falling to the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday night.
Dennis Seidenberg gave the Islanders a lead with 7:05 to play, but a late penalty left them defending a 6-on-4 as time was expiring. Mark Streit's point shot kicked off the end boards and out to Nick Cousins, whose attempt slid through the crease to Matt Read with 58 seconds to play.
In overtime, the Islanders came up with a big kill, but couldn't salvage the extra point in the shootout, as Claude Giroux scored the game-decider in the second round, while the Isles went 0-for-3.
"We have to execute better," John Tavares said. "A 6-on-4, guys have been out there for a little bit and we obviously have to find a way to get it done. Sometimes bounces don't go your way and you have to overcome some adversity. We almost did that tonight, but didn't get the result."
Video: PHI@NYI: Halak denies Simmonds with a blocker save
Jaroslav Halak (40 saves) played perhaps his best game of the season on Thursday, holding the fort during a furious Flyers push in overtime. The Islanders' goalie stopped all six shots he faced in overtime - including a blocker save on a Wayne Simmonds breakaway - to get his team to a shootout. It took a dizzying move from Giroux to solve Halak in the skills competition.
Given the 50/50 nature of the shootout, the Islanders were more focused on the tying goal when dissecting the game.
"It was a bounce off the end wall," Seidenberg said. "You have to respect the guys ahead of you in front of the net. There's always going to be guys behind. It was an unlucky bounce, but at the end of the day we have to be smarter throughout the whole game and just make it easier on ourselves."
Halak's 14 first-period saves kept Thursday's game scoreless in the first period, but the Flyers opened the scoring at 11:11 of the second period. Travis Konecny was sprung on a breakaway and while Halak stopped the initial shot with his glove, Konecny followed up and banged in the rebound for the game's first goal.
Video: PHI@NYI: Tavares slams home Cizikas' perfect pass
After taking three of the game's first four penalties, the power-play starved Islanders caught a break at the end of the second period, as Nick Schultz and Sean Couturier took a pair of penalties, giving the Isles a five-on-three. The Islanders pounded pucks from the point, but didn't score with the two-man advantage, but with time running out on the five-on-four, Casey Cizikas - a newcomer to the power play - fed Tavares on a backdoor play to put the Islanders on the board.
The Islanders potted the go-ahead goal at 7:05 of the third period, as Seidenberg's changeup beat Michal Neuvirth (25 saves) five-hole. Seidenberg now has goals in two straight, four of 11 and also marked the seventh-straight game an Islanders defenseman scored.
Video: PHI@NYI: Seidenberg beats Neuvirth between the pads
In the shootout, Cal Clutterbuck and Josh Bailey were denied by Neuvirth before Giroux scored. Tavares had a chance to extend the shootout, but was caught off guard by Neuvirth's pokecheck, an unfamiliar move for Tavares' junior hockey teammate.
While the Islanders did get a point - their first against a divisional opponent, having the late lead made Thursday's result all the more frustrating.
"We just have to close games," Cizikas said. "This is the fourth game where we've lost it or let the team tie it in the last couple of minutes of the game. That's four games, that's a possible eight points we could have."
The Islanders now turn their focus to the Edmonton Oilers who they host on Saturday night at 7 p.m