SUNRISE, Fla. - This road trip isn't going as planned.
Unlike the Islanders' last hike - a western trip that launched them into an impressive roll - they have lost all three games, including Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Florida Panthers. The Isles have lost five straight and six of their last seven.
In the last five games, the Islanders have been outscored 19-6, but they've been averaging 29 shots a game during that span.
"You have to score goals, that's all you can do," coach Scott Gordon said. "There's no other way around that."
The lack of offense has been a glaring issue on the power play, too - no goals with the man-advantage in 10 opportunities in the last three games.
Gordon said that although the team is struggling, it is not far removed from being on the other side of the score.
"It wasn't that long ago that we went on a big streak," Blake Comeau said. "The good thing about things being so tight in the standings is that we're only three or four wins away from getting back."
Despite outshooting the Panthers 15-6 in the first period, the Islanders found themselves down a goal.
Thirty-two seconds into the Islanders' first power play of the game, Kyle Okposo took a high-sticking call. Once four-on-four play ended and Florida had the man-advantage, the Panthers scored their first power-play goal in three games on Jordan Leopold's wrist shot at 15:45.
David Booth, who played in his first game since suffering a concussion Oct. 24, picked up an assist on the play.
The Panthers had 14 shots against Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro in the second period and scored with 9.6 seconds left for a 2-0 lead. Keith Ballard had an easy shot from the left circle after a cross-ice, tape-to-tape pass from Cory Stillman.
In his sixth start of the season, DiPietro turned away 23 of Florida's 25 shots but received no support. "It's got to be tough for them," Matt Moulson said of the team's goaltenders. "They could let in only one or two goals and it's a loss for them because we don't score."
Defenseman Freddy Meyer almost cut the Panthers' lead in half as he made a diving attempt to tap in the puck with his outstretched stick after being taken down by Shawn Matthias at 3:08 in the third.
But Meyer slid into the net, unhinging the goal from its moorings as the puck slid past the goal line. After a review, the original no-goal call was upheld.
With Matthias in the box for tripping Meyer, the Isles had their first of three power plays in the third period. But without an abundance of "natural killer instinct," Gordon said, the ineffective unit's woes continued.
"There's no time to pout," DiPietro said. "We're confident. When we put it all together, we're a hard team to play against. It's up to us to be consistent and focused. We don't have to play a perfect 60 minutes, but we have to be pretty close."
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