This was a throwback game for the Islanders. Unfortunately, it was to the pre-Barry Trotz days when they couldn’t rely on solid defense and goaltending.
The Predators, erasing a two-goal deficit with four goals in the second period and seven straight overall, thrashed the Islanders, 8-3, on Tuesday night at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders were too prone to turnovers and couldn’t get the big save to bail them out.
“We couldn’t get a stop,” Trotz said. “Our goalies have bailed us out so many times this year and we couldn’t bail them out.”
It marked the most goals and most five-on-five goals the Islanders (22-8-2), who had an eight-game home winning streak snapped, have allowed in their two seasons under Trotz.
And it led Trotz to pull Thomas Greiss after he allowed five goals on 15 shots through two periods. But Semyon Varlamov, likely to start Thursday night at Boston against the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins, allowed goals on the first two shots he faced. Calle Jarnkrok’s wrister made it 6-3 at 8:59 of the third period and defenseman Roman Josi’s rebound attempt pushed it to 7-3 at 11:36.
Pekka Rinne made 27 saves for the Predators (16-12-5), who had eight players with multi-point games.
“It just kind of slipped away from us,” Josh Bailey said. “It’s something we’d like to have back. You’re going to have these nights. It’s unfortunate. It doesn’t make it acceptable. But, at the end of the day, it’s chalked up as a loss just as if we lost 2-1.”
The Islanders had scored at even strength, on the power play and shorthanded in the opening 8:11 of the second period to erase a one-goal deficit before the Predators’ started their second-period barrage on Greiss.
The game turned on Filip Forsberg’s power-play goal at 8:38 of the second period, just 27 seconds after Casey Cizikas’ shorthanded goal off a two-on-one rush gave the Islanders a 3-1 lead.
“They came back with that quick power-play goal right after that and got that momentum back on their side,” said Cizikas, who scored his second shorthanded goal of the season and the Islanders’ fifth. “This a tough one to swallow.
“This doesn’t happen to us very often,” Cizikas added. “It’s definitely tough but tomorrow is a new day.”
Brock Nelson, keeping the puck on a two-on-one, had tied the game at 1 at 2:55 of the second period and Derick Brassard’s power-play laser from the right circle gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead at 4:43.
Craig Smith tied the game at 3 at 10:58 of the second after defenseman Adam Pelech turned the puck over deep in his zone. Nick Bonino deflected defenseman Mattias Ekholm’s shot from the blue line to regain a 4-3 lead for the Predators at 18:24. Rocco Grimaldi made it 5-3 with 47.2 seconds left in the second period, beating Greiss high to the shortside from the right after Forsberg forced Pelech into a turnover. In all, Greiss allowed four goals on nine shots in the second period.
“We lost it tonight,” captain Anders Lee said. “We lost that momentum and we weren’t able to grab it back. That’s the frustrating part. It definitely slipped away from us. You learn a lesson when you let up eight, that’s for sure.”
Smith’s shot from the high slot had given the Predators a 1-0 lead at 4:39 of the first period as defenseman Scott Mayfield had the puck taken as he tried to clear the zone and Bonino, falling to his knees, was able to set up the goal.
The Predators were coming off Monday night’s 5-2 win over the Rangers to open a four-game road trip and the Islanders controlled much of the opening period.