The Islanders took the positive view of the one point they salvaged out of Monday afternoon’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Blues in Barclays Center.
They were down 2-0 with under seven minutes to play, so the late rally was indeed better than the alternative. Andrew Ladd started the comeback with a wrist shot to beat Jake Allen at 13:04 of the third.
Anders Lee pulled the Islanders even with a rebound put-back from Allen’s doorstep with 59.2 seconds left and Thomas Greiss off for a sixth skater. The Islanders hung on in overtime, killing off a Blues power play in the final half of the five-minute session, but were quickly put down in the shootout.
Still, better than a goose egg to take with them to California, where the Islanders open a three-game road trip on Wednesday in Anaheim.
“It’s a big point,” Doug Weight said. “Being down 2-0 against that hockey club, home or road, we’ll take the point.”
It’s fair to take issue with how the Islanders fell into that two-goal hole in the first place. Vladimir Tarasenko scored a couple of pretty ones in the second period for the Blues — he also had the shootout clincher and now has seven goals in nine career games against the Islanders — but the Islanders had a long stretch of power-play time to seize control of a scoreless game earlier in the second.
Robert Bortuzzo was sent off for two cross-checking penalties after knocking Brock Nelson to the ice and then squaring up Nelson, face down, with his stick across the numbers a second time, punishment apparently for a questionable Nelson hit on Carl Gunnarsson.
During the latter half of that four-minute advantage, Josh Ho-Sang drew a slashing minor to give the Isles a five on three for 1:23. Despite numerous good looks, including a cross-ice feed from Jordan Eberle to Mathew Barzal for a good chance to Allen’s right that the goaltender got his shoulder on, the power plays went to waste on an 0-for-6 day for the power play, which is now 0-for-10 in the season’s three games while allowing two shorthanded goals.
“It was a great feed, I kind of lost the puck a bit coming through the traffic but he made a good save,” said Barzal, still looking for his first NHL point. “I thought we were definitely better [on the power play] today, had a few more looks than we’ve had. It’s going to get better.”
Tarasenko scored one at even strength at 9:38 and one on the power play at 15:34, with Weight challenging the second goal for offside — the puck appeared to be close to exiting the zone a full 23 seconds earlier, but review upheld the goal and that meant another minor to the Isles for the failed challenge.
The penalty kill and Greiss were key to setting the comeback stage. Greiss made the biggest of his 33 saves in the third, diving back from being out of position to get his body on Vladimir Sobotka’s open-net try to keep it 2-0.
And after the Isles pulled within a goal they took a too-many-men penalty with 4:15 left that they killed expertly. Just after Greiss got to the bench, Eberle teed up a pass for Thomas Hickey, whose slapper was turned aside by Allen.
But Lee was alone in front to sweep in the tying goal and secure that good point.
“I think coming back down two going into the third and plenty of opportunities to win the game, especially in overtime, every point counts,” John Tavares said. “We’ll take it and move forward and get better for this coming week.”