With the Islanders latest defeat came sticks broken in frustration, expletive-laced outbursts and an entire team looking amongst themselves for an answer to the team's harrowing eight-game slump.
The tense mood in the dressing room after the game was appropriate given their 1-0 shutout loss to Anaheim at Honda Center last night. Despite limiting the Ducks to only one shot on goal in the first period and outshooting them 27-14 overall, the Islanders went 0-for-6 on the power play and dropped their eighth straight game. Ducks backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney made 27 saves for his first career shutout and the Ducks fifth straight win.
"Anytime you go through something like this, it's always frustrating," said goaltender Dwayne Roloson." We've just got to turn that frustration into something positive."
Frustration reigned supreme as Saku Koivu broke a scoreless tie in the third with his one-timer from above the left hash marks at 3:40 to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead.
"We could've held them to three shots on goal, but if they score on one of them it doesn't really matter," former Duck James Wisniewski said after facing his old team last night.
Wisniewski took accountability for the team's inability to convert on six different power-play attempts last night.
"I'll take full blame for that," Wisniewski said. "I must have set a game record for blocked shots [against]."
The Islanders played a sound game in their own end, particularly in the first; It wasn’t even until Koivu’s wrister at 18:13 that Anaheim registered its sole shot of the period. But their inability to score has been a huge factor the team's current freefall. John Tavares has one point in the last six games, Josh Bailey has been held off the scoresheet in his last eight and Blake Comeau has not scored a goal in almost a month.
"We've played two of our best defensive games back to back," coach Scott Gordon said after the game. "If we continue to play that type of defense, eventually the offense will come."
After two unsuccessful power-play attempts in the first period, the Islanders dropped to 0-for-4 with the man advantage after another pair of failed opportunities in the second.
“We can’t lose special team battles,” Wisniewski said before the game “With this day and age and the game the way it is, you’re getting 4 or 5 power plays and you’ve got to get one or two [power-play goals] a game to boost your offense.”
Shortly after the team came up short on their fifth power-play opportunity of the game, Koivu snapped the scoreless draw for his fourth goal in the past three games.
Indicative of the Islanders emotional turmoil, Zenon Konopka slammed his stick on the bench and motioned for Koivu to meet him in the hallway as he left the ice with a game misconduct. Earlier in the game, mild-mannered defenseman Radek Martinek even dropped the gloves for his first NHL fight.
The Islanders have now given up the first goal in eight straight games. They are 0-8-2 when doing so and have yet to secure a lead at any point throughout their current losing streak.
"We've had some great opportunities throughout this streak and once pucks start going in we'll start winning again," Tavares said before professing his faith in the Islanders room. "We believe it's in here."