TORONTO - Limping along with five defensemen for much of the game and down to four for half of the third period, the Islanders dropped a 2-1 decision to the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre last night.
Matt Moulson scored his sixth goal in three games and team-leading 27th of the season to tie the score at 1 in the second, but he couldn't play the hero's role in his hometown.
Phil Kessel swiveled past rookie defenseman Travis Hamonic and ripped a shot past goaltender Al Montoya to snap a tie at 1 with less than five minutes left in the third period.
"Whenever you go down to five [defensemen] it's tough, especially when you play a team like this that likes to play off the rush," Hamonic said.
Already without defenseman Radek Martinek, who missed the game with a lower-body injury, the Islanders lost Milan Jurcina early in the first period.
Jurcina played only three shifts before suffering a groin injury that kept him out the rest of the game. The Islanders entered 20-12-3 with Jurcina in the lineup and 3-18-4 without him.
Hamonic's misconduct at 4:10 of the third earned him 10 minutes in the penalty box, forcing the Islanders to rely on only two defensive pairs for half of the period. "I'm going to have to go back and really watch the tape to see what I did to necessitate a 10-minute misconduct," Hamonic said.
Soon after Hamonic re-entered the game, Kessel blew past him for the winner at 15:19.
"He made a good move, cut to the middle, squeezed it between me and [Andrew] MacDonald," Montoya said after his first loss of the season.
Clarke MacArthur converted a feed from Nikolai Kulemin for his 18th goal of the season to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead 10:13 into the game.
After going 0-for-3 on the power play in the first period, the Islanders scored on their fourth chance. Moulson swept a neat backhander into the net at 8:09 of the second to tie it at 1.
The Islanders didn't score on two subsequent power-play opportunities, finishing 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
"We got outworked," coach Jack Capuano said. "It was too casual. When that happens, you're not going to have much success."
Notes & quotes: Martinek will undergo further evaluation when the team returns to New York. He suffered the injury sliding into the boards during Monday's 5-1 win over Florida.