The Islanders were a full minus-5 at even strength, their only tally coming on the powerplay as Frans Nielsen shoveled in the garbage after nice work from John Tavares and P.A. Parenteau.
That was the Isles and Parenteau's lone highlight, as both had a tough night -- Parenteau's being augmented by a minus-3 (he lost his man on the first Coyotes goal) and a couple of frustration penalties with the game out of hand and the Coyotes objecting to his presence int he crease. Final: 5-1.
To cap the insult (or salvage some fun, if you're just a hockey fan looking for a cool story), Shane Doan finally reached an in-game milestone he'd failed to reach through 1160 NHL games and 300+ goals in his long career: Completing his first career hat trick.
This was the 39th time he'd scored twice in one game, but managing three tonight took all 60 minutes to achieve.
Adding a bit of fun to the script, Doan -- who opened scoring in the second minute of the game and opened the lead with a breakaway in the second minute of the second period -- finished his hat trick as time expired and the buzzer sounded, Evgeni Nabokov looking at the long shot like he thought it was over or he'd received a gratuity.
The Islanders actually outshot the Coyotes 32-25, but that was with six shots on the powerplay and chasing the game from behind for two periods. Every line was victimized, every defensive pair (and Nabby) had their moment under the red light. Matt Martin was the lone player to escape a minus.
Playing a better team on the second night of a road back-to-back, the Islanders were ripe for the taking and they were taken.
The Islanders fall to 14-19-6, still in 15th in the East (though with four games in hand on their minus-34 brothers the Hurricanes), 6-10-3 on the road now with two tough home games against Detroit and Philadelphia coming up.
Sure makes the blown lead to the Ducks sting extra bad, doesn't it?
If there's a bright side, with another PPG the Islanders' powerplay has quietly climbed to the fifth-best conversion rate in the league. Absent a fully equipped blueline corps, they're probably going to need that to continue.
(I guess the other bright side is Tavares is still a nightly threat, and Kevin Poulin just got his third consecutive shutout for Bridgeport.)
Cheers to the Captain
Cheers to Doan -- and to Dave Tippett for running him out there to try (Doan's previous shift was 1:49 long, his final shift consuming the final 59 seconds of the game) -- for finally making it rain hats. Numbed by the rest of the game's activity, that was at least a neat hockey sight to see.
(Good footage of it in the highlights below).
Other than all that though, it was just great.