By Katie Strang
The Islanders two-week Olympic break may now seem a little longer with their latest loss lingering in memory.
16:13 away from a relaxing two week-recess, the Islanders saw a 2-goal lead disappear in the third period and their playoff hopes become a bit bleaker with a 4-3 loss to Ottawa at Nassau Coliseum last night.
Instead of closing out their third win in four games, the Islanders surrendered three straight goals in the third. They now head into the league-mandated break six points out of eighth place in the Eastern conference.
“It definitely would’ve been more enjoyable if we had a bunch of wins before the break,” defenseman Andy Sutton said, “but I guess we’ve got to use this as a chance to regroup, rest up and get ready for the next twenty games.”
Blake Comeau scored twice for the first multi-goal game of his career, and Matt Moulson added a goal as well, but the Islanders lack of killer instinct hurt them in the third period.
Ahead 3-1, the Islanders missed an ideal opportunity to seal the win with :54 seconds of 5-on-3 power-play time to begin the third period.
Failing to convert with the two-man advantage was a pitvotal turning point in the game, coach Scott Gordon said
“We score there and it makes the difference.”
“Obviously when you kill a five-on-three there’s momentum that changes, but at that point we still controlled the game, it was 3-1,” said goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who suffered his fifth straight loss. “We didn’t have to do anything different, just keep playing. Unfortunately, we made some mistakes in our end and they ended up in our net.”
The two teams traded goals in the first period. Jarkko Ruutu gave the Senators a 1-0 lead at 6:16, and Comeau notched his first goal of the game with a slapshot from the left circle at 15:54.
After Moulson scored his 22nd goal of the season for a 2-1 Islanders lead at 5:05, Comeau extended the Islanders lead to two goals at 13:57 in the second, when he stopped the puck with his left skate and lifted it past Senators goaltender Brian Elliott for his second goal of the game.
With a 3-1 lead to protect, the Islanders then gave up three uncontested goals in the third period.
Alex Kovalev pulled the Senators within a goal with at 3:47 and Jason Spezza notched a power-play goal to tie the game at 9:13.
Less than two minutes later Mike Fisher parked in the crease for a seamless tip-in and the go-ahead goal at 10:46.
“It’s tight from 12th all the way up to sixth,” said Comeau, who also finished with two points (one goal, one assist) Saturday. “Those were two points were definitely needed and we’re all disappointed to see them go whether it was before the break or not.”
Roloson is now 1-6 in his last seven starts.
“It’s not under my control,” Roloson said. “I’ve got to stop the puck. Sometimes you get chances to get the win and sometimes you don’t.”
Instead of mulling their latest loss, Roloson said the team will have to strike it from memory to rebound once play resumes.
“We’ve got to forget it as soon as we can and be ready to go after break and push on to do whatever we have to do to move back in the standings and get into the spot where we’re in playoff position.”