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Home losses have familiar feel to Islanders

Second straight OT win by Lightning puts New York down 3-1

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- The calendar says Groundhog Day was three months ago, but the New York Islanders essentially experienced the same day Friday they lived Tuesday.

Just like Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Islanders were dominant in the first period of Game 4. They had numerous chances to build a lead at home. But they again failed to seize the opportunity and couldn't score more than once on Ben Bishop.

It cost them in a 2-1 overtime loss at Barclays Center that put their season on the brink of ending.

Trailing the best-of-7 series 3-1, the Islanders must win Game 5 at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports).

"We had some chances to score, and we didn't do that," said right wing Kyle Okposo, who scored New York's goal. "We've just got to find ways to get it past [Bishop]. We did some pretty good things tonight, but at the end of the day, we just didn't make enough plays."

Video: TBL@NYI, Gm4: Okposo gives Islanders an early lead

Three nights after outshooting Tampa Bay 17-9 in the first period of a 5-4 overtime loss, the Islanders held a 16-6 edge in Game 4. But they failed to take advantage when Lightning forward Ryan Callahan was given a four-minute roughing penalty 14:41 into the game.

Not only did the Islanders fail to score on that extended advantage, which turned out to be their last power play of the game, they spent little time in the offensive zone. Instead of taking a bigger lead, they were up 1-0. They let the defending Eastern Conference champions hang around when they had them on the ropes.

"Obviously it wasn't our best," said Okposo, who scored on New York's first power play 4:20 into the game. "They stymied us pretty good. We've got to make some plays. It would've been nice to get another one after that and try to rectify that. Obviously I'd like to score there, but it didn't happen."

For the second straight game, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman got the better of Islanders captain John Tavares, who was held to one official shot on goal and another that hit the crossbar moments before the four-minute power play.

"It's a little disappointing," Tavares said. "We have to really test them and make it harder on them. We obviously opened the scoring on the power play, so … playoffs is a chess match. I think they made some adjustments right away. We just didn't execute as well as the first one.

"We had plenty of chances after that and throughout the game. We've got to find a way to put some in."

Islanders coach Jack Capuano didn't want to place blame on his power play for failing to generate any serious chances. New York had the lead until Nikita Kucherov, who tied Game 3 with 39 seconds left, tied Game 4 with 12:11 to go. Jason Garrison won it 94 seconds into overtime.

Video: TBL@NYI, Gm4: Garrison's overtime-winning slap shot

"You can't fault them," Capuano said of the power play. "We couldn't exit the zone, we over-handled the puck, we know that. But we got a big goal from Kyle early on. They made a push in the second, but overall I thought we came back out in the third and played a solid game. We held a good team to limited chances.

"We've got to find a way to score goals. He's a really good goaltender, there's no doubt that Bishop is solid. He's a World Cup goalie. We've got to find a way to get to him and get to the net and pounce on some rebounds."

Because the Islanders couldn't do that again Friday, they flew to Tampa with their season on the line. They know they could be up 3-1 just as easily as being in the position they are now.

"Probably [these were] our two best games of the playoffs, to be honest," left wing Matt Martin said. "We were getting the bounces in the Florida series (first round). Maybe they're getting a little more of the bounces right now. We've just got to fight through it. We can't be too frustrated. We don't have a whole lot of time to dwell on this one. Head out to Tampa [Saturday] and get ready for a must-win game."

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