Following two of their worst losses of the season, the Islanders held back-of-the-bus meetings to rally the team, round-table discussions to vent their collective frustration and video sessions to address the adjustments needed to halt a five-game slump.
Those measures didn’t help Thursday night as the Islanders dropped their sixth straight with a 4-1 loss to the Senators.
“I don’t think you can use any excuse. You just have to find a way to win. That’s what good teams are about, finding a way to win. So, we better figure it out quick," said Matt Moulson, who scored the lone Islanders goal last night.
After Moulson scored to cut it to 3-1, Senators goaltender Brian Elliott made two stellar stops to thwart any chance of an Islanders comeback in the third period..
With Matt Martin in the box serving a double-minor, both Blake Comeau and Frans Nielsen had shorthanded breakaways, but Elliott turned away both.
The Islanders’ troubling habit of falling behind early continued as Sergei Gonchar beat goaltender Dwayne Roloson for a 1-0 lead at 12:20 of the first.
Gonchar’s wrister from the right circle marked the sixth straight game the Islanders have given up the first goal.
“It’s hard not to get the old “woe is me” coming into the room, throwing the gloves down and saying, ‘Geez, there goes another game, we’re down,’ Weight said after the team’s morning meetings. “But we’ve got to make sure that whatever happens or however the puck finds the back of our net, we’re playing our game for 60 minutes.”
The Islanders had a prime chance earlier in the period to reverse that trend when they were awarded a five-minute power play for Zach Smith’s major boarding penalty on Trevor Gillies at 3:09, but they couldn’t score with the extended man-advantage.
Ottawa scored twice in the second period to pull away.
David Hale banked a shot off Roloson's pad and the left post at 3:47 and Jason Spezza collected his third point of the night with his shot that glanced off Roloson’s left shoulder to give the Senators a 3-0 lead at 6:17.
Ottawa’s third goal prompted Scott Gordon to call a timeout, but the Islanders didn’t chip away at the Senators’ lead until the third period.
With Chris Neil in the box for interference, Moulson spoiled Elliott’s shutout, burying John Tavares’ rebound for a power-play goal at 3:40. Chris Kelly added an empty-netter for the Senators.
“Overall, we played well tonight except there’s two, three, four, five opportunities we give up and they score goals," defenseman James Wisniewski said. "Those are just too big of breakdowns. It’s not minor enough where we can recover.”
Heading into Ottawa Thursday night, the Islanders were urgently searching for a way to get back on track.
And though they may have improved upon their last two games (in which they were outscored 13-3), a six-game losing streak still looms.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction. We need a few more steps, obviously,” coach Scott Gordon said after the game. “Our inability to score is certainly an issue.”
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