RALEIGH, N.C. — The response was as important as getting a needed point.
The Islanders lost to the Hurricanes, 2-1, in an eight-round shootout on Sunday at PNC Arena after allowing five goals in the third period of a 6-4 loss to the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals on Saturday afternoon at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.
“We take a lot of pride in what we do,” Anders Lee said. “It was just a sour feeling [Saturday] night that I don’t think is going to sit well with anyone. That stung and we have to come together as a group and individually to rise up out of some adversity like we saw [Saturday]. I think we did a great job of that tonight. It’s a shootout loss, but we took a step forward.”
The third-place Islanders (28-15-5), who got 31 saves from Thomas Greiss in a sterling performance, are in a 1-3-2 skid as they complete a stretch of seven games in 11 days on Tuesday night against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The Islanders played one forward short the second half of the game after Josh Bailey left for the dressing room at 9:32 of the second period because of illness.
Justin Williams, back with the Hurricanes after sitting out the first half of the season as he contemplated retirement, scored the deciding shootout goal and James Reimer (26 saves) stopped Lee’s last-chance attempt.
Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier scored for the Islanders in the first three rounds of the shootout. Both Brock Nelson and Casey Cizikas had the puck go off their sticks on their shootout attempts on the choppy ice surface and did not get off a shot.
The Hurricanes (28-18-3) moved within two points of the Islanders.
“I didn’t have any problem,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “We had some chances. Their goaltender had some good saves. That was a playoff-style game.”
The Hurricanes, of course, swept the Islanders in the second round of last season’s playoffs.
“It’s just a good hockey game overall,” Barzal said. “Any time you come into this barn, it seems like a playoff game. There was no room out there. But we kept it simple and it paid off. It’s unfortunate about the shootout, but those are two top teams going at it.”
“It’s always tough,” defenseman Devon Toews said of not earning the second point. “But we felt like we played a good game. If we play that way every single night, we’re going to win a lot of hockey games. It’s unfortunate because we felt we got some good looks. Shootouts are a toss-up and Greisser gave us chance after chance there.”
Greiss made perhaps his best save at 8:12 of the third period, sliding to his left to deny Ryan Dzingel on an odd-man rush feed from Martin Necas. But both teams had chances to end it in regulation.
Greiss made back-to-back hard saves on Andrei Svechnikov and Nino Niederreiter at 14:36 of the third period and Reimer denied Barzal’s backhander on a breakaway at 17:10.
The Islanders tied the score at 1-1 with 55.9 seconds to go in the second period as Lee swooped in for a loose puck at the crease.
Svechnikov’s shot from the right circle over Greiss’ right shoulder had given the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead at 5:45 of the first period.
Notes & quotes: Defenseman Nick Leddy logged 23:20 in his 700th NHL game . . . Matt Martin played after needing stitches to his right ear as he was hit by a puck late in the pregame warm-ups . . . Defenseman Sebastian Aho and Ross Johnston were the healthy scratches . . . Trotz said Bailey was feeling under the weather before the game but believed he could play through it.