The New York Islanders' four-game win streak, and their two-game streak of landing on the right side of the overtime/shootout coin toss, ended with a thud in Ottawa after they blew a third-period 2-0 lead to the Senators.
But for the grace of Jaroslav Halak and a fortunate bounce on a Matt Martin shot were the Islanders up 1-0 after the first period. They improved through the second half of the game, as has been their pattern in recent weeks, but the ending left much to be desired.
Finishing up a traveling back-to-back and perhaps resting on the illusory comfort of a 2-0 lead after Josh Bailey's power play goal at 7:02 of the third, they conceded quickly, then late, and once more in overtime.
Halak stopped several golden chances in overtime, and even got a piece of Erik Karlsson's winner that stretched him at full range after a two-on-one pass from Bobby Ryan. He'd stopped Ryan on a clear breakaway earlier in OT and deadly Mike Hoffman on a breakaway in the first period.
But Halak's shutout bid ended two minutes after Bailey's goal on a well-screened shot by Mark Stone. Then his game-saving powers reached their limit, and the Isles' luck ran out, when Hoffman tied it on another screen with 36 seconds left in regulation just after the Isles killed off a tripping penalty by Martin but with Craig Anderson still pulled for a sixth attacker.
Other than one golden chance for John Tavares set up by Calvin de Haan, the Senators had all of the best chances in overtime. The way they pounced on the winning counterattack was indicative of the whole 3-on-3 session: Ryan came down low to strip Tavares as he tried to create something from behind the goal line, then the speedy Ryan and Karlsson were off on an odd-man rush with plenty of time to make the right decision to win the game.
The Isles had a good second period and perhaps should have had a bigger lead before Bailey made it 2-0 in the third on a well-executed play with Mikhail Grabovski at the end of a power play. In particular in the "oh so close" category, a combo with Zidlicky and Ryan Strome sent a puck off the underside of the crossbar.
But Halak stopped enough golden scoring chances to declare the Isles the rightful loser in this one if they couldn't put more than two past Craig Anderson. Though the stats and scoring chances will look close, Halak was by far the more tested goalie, and for most of the night it looked like he just might steal this one.
Great night for Halak though the stats won't show it. Disappointing loss for the Isles given the blown 2-0 lead. But deserved result of just a point given how much they relied on their goalie, how they were unable to deliver the decisive blow, and how they took a late penalty to give Ottawa every opportunity to steal this one back.
Cool Sight of the Night
Mr. and Mrs. Bailey celebrating, on Mrs. Bailey's birthday, as their son Josh scored the insurance goal at the end where they were sitting.
Awful Sight of the Night
With Martin in the box, Cal Clutterbuck having just lost his stick, and Anderson out of the net for an extra attacker, Casey Cizikas went all in to poke a puck away from Kyle Turris and clear the zone. Unfortunately, his follow-through and Turris' body positioning ended in a crumpling of Turris' ankle that looked awful. If you thought Colton Paranko shredded his ankle last night -- miraculously, he came back in the game and was fine -- this looked even worse.
And it probably was.
Cameron had no update on Turris...Said "I'm scared to ask"— Brent Wallace (@tsn_wally) December 6, 2015
Quote(s) of the Night
The Islanders look like their bio-rhythms are off. You know when you check your horoscope? Their bars are low.
-- Butch Goring in the first period
In general, it was a fun night for Goring, as it often is when he's paired with Jiggs McDonald.
Butch: "That part of the machine that holds the ball..."
Butch: "That's the word. You know I was a pinball wizard as a youngster..."
-- On the back-and-forth missed rinkwide passes from both teams at the beginning of the third
The Isles are off until Tuesday in Philadelphia, where the Flyers have been on a good run until losing 4-1 to Columbus tonight.