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Sloppy play costs Islanders in shootout loss to Ducks

Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique (14) puts the

Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique (14) puts the puck past New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) for the score during the second period of the game at the NYCB Live /Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Barry Trotz glanced over the final scoresheet and matched an Islanders mistake to each of the Ducks’ goals.

“They get a power play because we take a penalty up ice,” the coach said. “We give up a shorthanded goal. A goaltender exchange, we could’ve just let our defensemen handle it, but we didn’t break it out. The next one, we went back with the puck. Everybody went north but the guy with the puck went south. The last one, we had it two feet inside the red line having a dominant shift and we threw it back in the middle and turn it over because our forwards are heading north and our defense put it south and there’s too much separation.”

So the Islanders got the result they deserved in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Ducks on Saturday afternoon at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. That makes it back-to-back uncharacteristic high-scoring games at home after Tuesday night’s 8-3 loss to the Predators.

“The Nashville game is an outlier,” Trotz said. “This one was a lot on us. We didn’t manage it as well as we could. From a special-teams standpoint, we were fine. Our five-on-five was fine, except for some decision-making at inappropriate times.”

Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves in his second straight start after making 27 saves in Thursday night’s 3-2 shootout win in Boston. That snapped the franchise-record goalie rotation with Thomas Greiss at 33 games.

John Gibson stopped 28 shots for the Ducks (15-17-4), who also beat the Islanders, 3-0, in Anaheim on Nov. 25 but had won only three of 10 since then.

Jakob Silfverberg scored the deciding shootout goal immediately after Josh Bailey kept it alive for the Islanders in the third round.

The Islanders (23-8-3), who announced earlier in the day that key penalty-killer Cal Clutterbuck is out indefinitely after surgery to repair wrist tendons, killed off three of four power plays. Max Comtois tied it at 1 at 16:27 of the first period on the man advantage because Derick Brassard took a bad tripping penalty in the offensive zone.

The Islanders also went 2-for-3 on the power play, including Ryan Pulock’s left-circle blast to tie the score at 5 at 13:19 of the third period. That was the fifth tie of the game.

“I think we played a pretty good game but we made some very costly mistakes,” Pulock said. “It was self-inflicted.”

The Islanders got a goal and two assists from defenseman Nick Leddy, who gave them a 4-3 lead at 14:15 of the second period off Brock Nelson’s feed. Nelson also tied the score at 2 with a power-play goal at the crease at 17:50 of the first period.

The Islanders’ top line of Mathew Barzal centering Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle was dominant in the offensive zone. Barzal tied the score at 3 at 9:20 of the second period with a breakaway goal after being sprung by Lee, and he set up Lee’s goal to open the scoring at 1:50 of the first period. Eberle had two assists.

Yet Leddy, Barzal, Eberle and Lee each was minus-2.

“I thought my line could have had four or five and, as a team, we could’ve had eight or nine,” Barzal said.

“That line was flying,” Trotz said. “Each had two points but they’re minus-2. We’re in the winning business, not the points business.”

Sam Carrick’s shorthanded goal put the Ducks ahead 2-1 at 17:03 of the first period. Adam Henrique gave the Ducks a 3-2 lead at 5:23 of the second period. Silfverberg tied the score at 4 just 26 seconds after Leddy’s go-ahead goal and defenseman Cam Fowler made it 5-4 at 10:19 of the third period.

Said Lee, “At times tonight we were just a half-step slow.”

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