LOS ANGELES — Even with their power-play futility, even after allowing a power-play goal and a shorthanded goal and playing a few too many listless minutes Sunday night, the Islanders had at least a point on the stick of their captain.
With the Isles down by a goal in the final half-minute, a shot deflected across the Kings’ crease and right to John Tavares with Kings goaltender Darcy Kuemper and most of his Kings teammates looking elsewhere. Tavares missed the net and the Islanders missed their chance to get something out of an inconsistent night.
“I just missed it,” Tavares said after the 3-2 loss, the fourth straight game in which he hasn’t scored a point. “Obviously, it’s the end of the game, the ice isn’t as good at that point, but I like to think I can put that one in. A missed opportunity.”
The loss didn’t hang entirely on Tavares, but it certainly is rare to see him miss such a glorious chance. He’s also a big part of the Isles’ misfiring power play, which stretched its season-long schneid to 0-for-20 with three shorthanded goals allowed.
The latest came from Drew Doughty, who raced up the ice to bury Anze Kopitar’s pass at 5:44 of the third for a two-goal Kings lead and what proved to be the game-winner. Casey Cizikas brought the Islanders within a goal at 14:20 and the Isles, as they had for the first half of the second period, brought the heat thereafter but could not find the equalizer.
“The power play’s been letting us down so far,” Tavares said. “Some good things at times, other times we’re not executing and other times we’re not getting good bounces. It’s a combination of a few things. All we can do is wake up tomorrow, find a way to turn the tide and get better.”
The Islanders head home having gone 1-2-0 on this California trip, with both losses by the same 3-2 final sandwiched around Saturday night’s 3-1 win in San Jose. Doug Weight kept the same lineup from Saturday and switched his goaltenders, but that move seemed to hurt the Islanders when his team played a pancake-flat first period and fell behind when Adam Pelech accidentally tipped Kopitar’s centering feed past Jaroslav Halak.
After Josh Bailey tied it at 8:56 of the second, the Islanders took a penalty and promptly paid for it on Jake Muzzin’s power-play goal at 11:32.
“We’ve got to start scoring with our opportunities and stop giving up those opportunities as well,” Weight said. “It starts with shooting the puck. We’ve got some guys who can move the puck around, but we need to get going toward the net.”
This trip could have had a different feel if Tavares had buried that last chance with Halak pulled for an extra skater. Instead, the Isles head home with three days off until they face the struggling Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
“Obviously, I’m counted on to produce and I haven’t done that as consistently as I’d like,” Tavares said. “I expect more of myself, especially when we get those chances.”
Notes & quotes: Anthony Beauvillier, Ryan Pulock and Dennis Seidenberg again were scratched. Pulock has yet to play this season . . . Cizikas leads the team with five points.