The Islanders deserved to lose this one.
“Poor penalties and turnovers,” coach Barry Trotz said. “They capitalized on a couple of their power plays and we’re sitting here with a loss.”
The Panthers scored twice in the third period and won it, 3-2, on Mike Hoffman’s power-play goal 33 seconds into overtime on Wednesday night at Barclays Center.
It was bad ending to a night that started somberly as the team honored former owner Charles Wang, who passed away on Sunday at age 74, with a video tribute followed by a moment of silence prior to the opening faceoff.
Robin Lehner made 38 saves for the Islanders (3-4-1), who were outshot 15-6 in the third period and overtime after taking a two-goal lead.
James Reimer made 20 saves for the Panthers (2-3-3), who went 2 for 5 on the man advantage.
“A two-goal lead, it was a little bit of a sleepy second (period),” Islanders captain Anders Lee said. “We didn’t take advantage of that opportunity. We didn’t put them away. It’s frustrating.”
The Islanders were trying to take advantage of a rare opportunity at home as they play eight of their first 11 games on the road and Wednesday marked their first home game since a 4-0 win over the Sharks at Brooklyn on Oct. 8.
The Islanders completed a 1-3-0 road trip with a 4-1 loss at San Jose Saturday but several players and Trotz have said repeatedly the team deserved better results in a 5-2 loss at Nashville on Oct. 13 and a 4-1 loss at Anaheim on Oct. 17.
“Coming home from a trip, having a two-goal lead and not getting two points is frustrating,” said center Brock Nelson, who got credit for the game’s first goal at 18:36 of the first period when Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson banked the puck in off teammate Vincent Trocheck’s skate. “You’ve got to find a way to get a kill.”
The Panthers’ comeback started on Frank Vatrano’s power-play goal at 2:46 of the third period after Andrew Ladd lightly tapped MacKenzie Weegar on the gloves and was whistled for slashing, perhaps a ticky-tack call but one that will almost always be called nowadays.
Evgenii Dadonov tied the game at 2 at 10:35 of the third as the defense pair of Nick Leddy and Ryan Pulock and the third line of Valtteri Filppula, Anthony Beauvillier and Leo Komarov combined to watch Aleksander Barkov shoot the puck off the left post, retrieve it behind the net, circle around and find Dadonov.
The Islanders blew what turned out to be their last good chance when Mathew Barzal was called for interference on Barkov at 18:35 of the third period, negating an Islanders’ power play. Referee Wes McCauley had tired of the Panthers’ stalling tactics during a stoppage at 17:18 and called them for delay of game.
“With a 2-0 lead, we don’t want to sit back on our heels,” said Jordan Eberle, who had called this game a “must-win” for the Islanders and put them up 2-0 with a power-play goal at 11:42 of the second period off Barzal’s feed. “That’s how good teams win games, they find a way to get that other one and bury them. The turning point was we got the power play late and they switch it.”
Notes & quotes: Thomas Greiss has a new goalie mask that features a throwback design from the Islanders’ fisherman logo era, which he expects to wear on a full-time basis…The Islanders announced they are planning to honor their late general manager Bill Torrey, who passed away on May 2, at a home game at Nassau Coliseum this season.
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