NEW YORK — The Islanders threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Minnesota Wild in the third period, but it wasn’t enough to complete a comeback as New York fell 5-3 on Monday Afternoon.
The Islanders peppered Wild starter Devan Dubnyk with 17 shots in the final 20 minutes of the game and had three separate power-play opportunities. In the end, it was all for naught as the Islanders failed to convert on any of the chances given to them and surrendered one final goal to Jason Zucker in the waning minutes of the third.
“Three bad decisions, two-second decisions, that you kind of chalk it up (to),” Islanders head coach Doug Weight said. “If you were playing better, consistent hockey you’d chalk it up as a couple bad decisions and you’d march on, but now the points are so paramount and important. It’s a big a punch in the stomach, not that you can handle losing,”
The mistakes Weight was referring to were peppered throughout the Islanders loss, which moved them back out of a playoff spot. However, it was a span of 4:12 in the second period that cost the Islanders the lead and eventually the game.
The Islanders got caught changing and a pass from Ryan Suter found Matt Cullen for an easy looking breakaway goal to tie the game at two. the Wild took a 3-2 lead at 12:17 after Jason Zucker ripped a shot from the top of the slot and the Wild made it 4-2 after Tyler Ennis beat Jaroslav Halak with a backhander at 14:06.
The Islanders were able to pull within one at 16:31 of the second when Tanner Fritz scored his first NHL goal, but the Wild put the game out of reach late in the third off Zucker’s second goal of the game. Three Islanders were behind Minnesota’s net allowing Zucker a shot from in front all alone.
“It was sort of bang, bang, bang,” Thomas Hickey said about the three goals in the second period. “I think it was the second one I think (Pelech) had no edge on his skate. It looked like a bad change, but those little things are part of a game. It’s tough luck. He tried to stop it at one instead of three goals in a row. We have to get better at the swings and the momentum of hockey games.
“Right there playing a good hockey game and then you go down by two.”
The Wild ended the Islanders shutout streak at 140:18 with an early first-period goal. Thomas Hickey made a bad pass right to Tyler Enis in the Islanders end which led to a shot from the Wild forward.
Halak made the save, but Charlie Coye threw the puck from behind the net and the shot deflected off of Joel Eriksson Ek into the net.
The Islanders evened the score at one with a late first-period goal from Johnny Boychuk. The defenseman ripped a slap shot from the point and Johnston deflected it by Devan Dubnyk with 44.8 seconds left in the opening period.
New York took a 2-1 lead 1:57 into the second when a shot from Thomas Hickey was deflected by Lee in front of the net.
“We played a good game, we played hard, but not good enough,” said Weight, who became increasingly frustrated during his postgame press conference. “They just have to trust our process of getting our best lines going. You have to let everyone else be that… We have to trust that everyone is a good player on this team. They want to do the right things and they want to be great.
“It’s 25 people, 30 people are going to touch the jersey throughout the year. We just have to be better.”
The Islanders were the better team for much of the game and held the Wild to 32 shots on goal, the second fewest they’ve surrendered in their last 20 games. The 35 shots the Islanders had was just the fourth time in their last 10 games they have had 30 or more shots on net.
“It wasn’t bad. It was just four or five letdowns that cost us goals,” Anders Lee said. “They capitalized on a couple nice plays out to the slot. I think we had plenty of opportunities to score goals.”