Controversial call costs Islanders in shootout loss to Blues
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The Islanders felt they were robbed by the NHL's Situation Room, which overturned Thomas Vanek's apparent game-winner with 1:15 left in overtime Saturday.
Of course, the Isles had a hand in the theft of an extra point by the visiting Blues, who tied it with 26.7 seconds left in regulation, then took a 4-3 decision in a shootout at the Coliseum.
"I think it's a terrible call," said Vanek, who appeared to end things on an Islanders power play when the puck went in off his skate. After a review, the league officials in Toronto saw a "distinct kicking motion" and overruled the call on the ice.
"I don't know if it's who we are," Vanek said. "If that's Pittsburgh or a top team, that's maybe a goal. It's just a terrible call. We all know what a kicking motion is."
Vanek opened the scoring 4:01 into the first period and Kyle Okposo stuffed in a shot at 15:49 as the Islanders took a 2-0 lead for the third time in their last five games.
But also for the third time in five games, the Islanders gave that 2-0 lead away. Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice in four minutes -- with 2:43 left in the first period and with 1:17 elapsed in the second -- and the score was tied.
The Islanders responded well, and quickly, with Matt Martin finishing off a pretty passing play between linemates Casey Cizikas and Colin McDonald, restoring the Islanders' lead at 3:58 of the second.
The third period was breath-holding time for the Isles against a big, aggressive Blues team. Kevin Poulin dived to make a miraculous stop with his stick on Alex Steen with less than 10 minutes remaining and T.J. Oshie rang a shot off both posts with just under four minutes left.
"They hemmed us in at times, but I thought we defended well and Poulie made some big saves," Jack Capuano said. "Even on the tying goal, I thought we were where we needed to be."
Martin blocked Alex Pietrangelo's shot but the puck caromed right to Oshie, who snaked a wrist shot through a crowd for the tie. It was the fourth tying goal in the final minute of regulation allowed by the Islanders this season, and they've won only one of those four games.
They thought they had a second win, however, after going on the power play with 2:16 remaining in overtime. Vanek tipped John Tavares' shot and Jaroslav Halak made the save. The rebound came back out, hit Vanek's skate with Steen close behind him and went under Halak's pad.
"To me, the referees made the right call on the ice," Capuano said. "That's all I'll say about that."
After a celebration and the review, the Islanders didn't get much going. The Blues won the shootout 2-1, with Kevin Shattenkirk deciding it.
"It's a tough one to take," Tavares said, "but it shouldn't have gotten to that point in the first place. We had the lead with 30 seconds left. It's a 60-minute game, and [not finishing] has come back to bite us when we haven't played right to the end."