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Islanders fall to Canucks in OT as skid hits seven

Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak stops a shot from

Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak stops a shot from Canucks' Tyler Motte during first period in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Monday, March 5, 2018. Credit: AP / JONATHAN HAYWARD

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Islanders escaped with a point on Monday night, scoring late in the third period before losing in overtime to the Canucks, 4-3, on a goal by Brendan Leipsic after a giveaway by Anthony Beauvillier.

But the point the Isles earned did nothing to make them feel better about a seventh straight loss. “It’s getting old,” Doug Weight said, using an expletive to emphasize the thought.

“We just seem to find ways to lose,” John Tavares said.

“It’s extremely, extremely frustrating,” Anders Lee said. “It doesn’t sit well. It [expletive].’’

As a practical matter, Jordan Eberle, who forced OT by scoring a power-play goal with 1:04 left in the third period, might have summed it up best. “At the end of the day, good teams win hockey games,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if they play well or crappy, they find a way to win . . . We had to find a way to get two [points]. We salvaged one, but at this point we need two.”

The Islanders have secured three of a possible 14 points during their losing streak and trail the Blue Jackets by four points in the race for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. It is not an impossible task, but it is getting more difficult by the day.

Weight was so furious as he approached his postgame news conference that he warned a team official that he would stay for only 30 seconds. He lasted longer than that, but not by much.

He lamented “bonehead plays” and the fact that his players passed up too many shots after totaling 15 in a dominant first period. The Islanders had 19 shots in the final two periods and overtime combined.

“Fifteen shots in the first, and we just want to screw around, walking down the pipe and passing it back door,” Weight said. “We just stopped shooting.”

They looked fine for a while, outshooting the Canucks 11-2 early on and taking a 2-0 lead on a first-period goal by Josh Bailey and another at 2:59 of the second when Tavares ripped a shot over Jacob Markstrom. Rookie Mathew Barzal, playing near his hometown and before family and friends, set up the play for his 50th assist of the season. (He later added his 51st.)

Vancouver trimmed the Islanders’ lead to 2-1 at 14:25 of the second when Leipsic backhanded a rebound past Jaroslav Halak. The Canucks tied it at 15:59 when Darren Archibald was granted a penalty shot after Johnny Boychuk impeded him as he came in alone on a partial breakaway. Archibald capitalized, beating Halak cleanly.

The Canucks went ahead with 9:29 left in the third when Jake Virtanen scored off a feed from Leipsic on a two-on-one rush.

Leipsic was penalized with 1:59 left, giving the Islanders a chance to pull Halak with about 1:25 on the clock and create a six-on-four advantage in skaters. Eberle then put in the rebound of a shot by Tavares to tie it.

But in OT, after Beauvillier lost his balance in his own zone, Leipsic took the puck away from the fallen Islander and beat Halak with 2:13 left in the extra period.

“The little things are breaking us,” Lee said, “and our resiliency’s not there at all.”

Canucks rookie Brock Boeser had to be helped off the ice with 27 seconds remaining in regulation after he hit the open door of the team bench, back first, after colliding with the Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck. He was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.

Canucks coach Travis Green expressed cautious optimism after the game that the injury might be only a bruise. Asked what he saw, he said, “He goes to make a hit, falls awkwardly into the boards and I think he hit the open gate on the [line] change.”

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