The New York Islanders had a chance to methodically put away a Carolina Hurricanes team finishing its final period of a seven-game road trip, but a lazy approach with a one-goal third period lead came back to bite them to the tune of a 3-2 overtime loss.
Ron Hainsey delivered the kill shot, with Kyle Okposo in futile pursuit after losing the puck on a rush into the Hurricanes zone. The overtime period was back-and-forth action typical of three-on-three play, but every Isles risk backfired while the Hurricanes resurgence forced Thomas Greiss to slide post-to-post multiple times to keep the puck out.
Greiss finished with 2t6 saves and deserved a better result. The Isles were outshot 29-19 and deserved nothing more than what they got, though the game was there for the taking until they let off the gas.
The Other Goals
The Islanders struck first, with Matt Martin scoring on a deflection of a Nick Leddy point shot after Casey Cizikas delivered the puck from behind the net to the blueline. That came nine minutes into the game on a nice bounce. But six minutes later the bounces went against Martin, as a broken play high in the Isles zone had the puck caroming off Martin's skates. Brock McGinn was the beneficiary, slinging the wobbling puck upstairs past Thomas Greiss.
Frans Nielsen broke a 1-1 tie halfway through the second period with a flying rush down the left wing as he carried in on an Islanders power play.
Nielsen's goal came on a brilliant play by the Islanders' zone entry master. Taking the puck off a drop pass in the Isles zone, he flew the neutral zone with speed, gained the blueline, then kept going around the Canes defense until he was in point-blank range of Eddie Lack. Once there, with Lack surely expecting a deke shot low to the ice or else a pass across to Kyle Okposo, Nielsen instead broke out his patented upstairs backhand, super-turbo version, all in one swoop.
Lack, quite sincerely, never had a chance on that one, Howie.
The goal actually involved the Isles' other zone entry maestro, as Nick Leddy had the primary exist. Getting the puck to Leddy was Thomas Greiss, who recorded his first NHL assist.
Anyway, that goal should have been the highlight of the night, something to remember a fine regulation win by.
Then It Went Caput
But carrying a one-goal lead and a chance to finish off a road-weary team, the Islanders instead came out obscenely passive for the third period. It wasn't even a shell; it was just plain slow pursuit in all three zones (but their own zone in particular).
The act lasted almost 15 minutes before Chris Terry tied the game by finishing a Jordan Staal pass across the slot. The three forwards of the Isles' top line all watched it happen, though Josh Bailey and Anders Lee were each most guilty for letting Terry wide open and ready to one-time it into an open net after Staal's cross-ice pass.
The Hurricanes were outshooting the Isles 11-3 in the period at that point, and finished the frame outshooting them 13-4. That deserves three turribles on the Charles Barkley Scale.
Overtime, as mentioned, was more even -- if that term can even be applied to 3-on-3 chaos. But the hockey gods gave the Isles what they deserved after their third-period no-show.
The Islanders have a Halloween matinee in New Jersey, then host the Buffalo Eichels on Sunday night. Two more weaker teams. Two more chances to maybe not take them so lightly.