Islanders lose again, their eighth straight game without a win
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ST. LOUIS - The cities change, the arenas and the opponents change, but the Islanders' inability to play well on the road has stayed constant.
The Islanders allowed the game's final four goals in a 5-1 loss to the Blues, the Isles' eighth straight loss away from home (all in regulation) and their eighth straight game without a win (0-6-2).
"There should be some pride in here," John Tavares said after another exasperating night dropped the Islanders to 8-16-5, the furthest they have been below .500 since finishing the 2010-11 season at 30-39-13.
"We need to have a lot more pride," Tavares said. "You're playing in the NHL . . . We proved a lot last year, but that doesn't mean you're going to just keep climbing. We're not earning it."
Their penalty kill let them down again last night as they allowed three power-play goals in the first two periods to the Blues, erasing anything good they had done in staying in a close game with one of the better teams in the NHL.
The Islanders' power play got the game even on Andrew MacDonald's point shot at 5:19 of the second period, matching Jay Bouwmeester's power-play goal at 11:47 of the first. The Islanders had the first five shots on goal in the second and had the edge at even strength.
But Matt Martin was a little too zealous as he went off on a change just a minute after the tying goal, drawing an interference penalty and giving the Blues their third power play. Anders Nilsson made a save but could not cover the rebound; Derek Roy backed away from a crowd and snapped a shot over Nilsson at 7:02 -- and the Blues came to life.
Matt Carkner went off to the box next, objecting too strongly to Chris Stewart's clean hit on Aaron Ness. Carkner and Stewart fought, but Carkner got an extra two minutes for instigating the fight. At 9:33, David Backes snapped a wrist shot over Nilsson's shoulder and the rout was on.
The Islanders' penalty kill has been ranked last in the league for weeks; Thursday night's 3-for-6 performance dropped the efficiency to only 70 percent (63-for-90), including 31-for-47 (66.0 percent) on the road.
"We talk about what we need to do; we just need to go and do it," Casey Cizikas said of the penalty-killing failures. "We got a big goal from the PP, then we take a stupid penalty and it's 2-1. Another stupid penalty and it's 3-1. It drains your emotions for sure."
There is no relief in sight. The Islanders traveled to Los Angeles late Thursday night with games upcoming against the Kings, Ducks, Sharks and Coyotes, the top four teams in the Pacific Division.
Michael Grabner hit the post on a shorthanded breakaway in the first period and had two more great chances that went for naught, extending his goal-less streak to 25 games. The Islanders didn't play hesitantly at first, but their lack of confidence showed once things got tough.
"I don't feel like we're being dominated, despite our record," Jack Capuano said. "We were dictating play for a good while against a very good hockey club. But you lose your discipline and you see what happens."