Barry Trotz didn’t want to hear any talk about goalie Thomas Greiss allowing soft goals because the Islanders’ coach had plenty to say about his team’s soft play.
After two straight victories, the Islanders’ three-game homestand came to a thudding conclusion with Sunday’s 6-2 loss to the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. The Stars scored four goals in the second period and the Islanders, in Trotz’s words, “started feeling sorry” for themselves.
The Stars’ top line of Alexander Radulov (two goals, one assist), Tyler Seguin (one goal, two assists) and Jamie Benn (three assists) badly outplayed the top forwards for the Islanders (10-7-2). Ben Bishop made 37 saves for the Stars (11-7-2), who also got two goals from defenseman Esa Lindell.
“We were really easy to play against,” Trotz said. “I heard Thomas took the blame for a couple of goals. No, they’re not hiding behind a goalie tonight. Sorry. I’m putting this on the team. We need more from our top guys, plain and simple. I’m done protecting them in terms of they’re going to have to go head-to-head.”
Trotz said the third line of Valtteri Filppula, Anthony Beauvillier and Leo Komarov was the team’s only good one, although he said the fourth line of Stephen Gionta, Cal Clutterbuck and former first-rounder Michael Dal Colle, making his season debut, was “fine” in limited ice time.
Trotz also limited the ice time of Josh Bailey and Jordan Eberle at the start of the third period.
“I thought our battle level came down,” he said. “I thought a couple of guys tried to go around the game instead of through the game, and you can’t do that in this league. I thought some guys got pushed out of the game, and that’s not good enough.”
Greiss was pulled at 7:08 of the second period after allowing three goals on 19 shots. That included rookie Roope Hintz’s first NHL goal, as he beat Greiss from 64 feet to make it 2-1 at 4:40.
Lindell notched his second goal of the period at 7:08 for a 3-1 lead on another shot Greiss said he should have stopped.
“I think we played a pretty good first period, we outplayed them,” said Greiss, making his third straight start. “In the second period, I’ve just got to make some saves, that’s the main thing. It was a bunch of bad goals.”
Seguin roofed a shot from the left past Robin Lehner (11 saves) to make it 4-1 at 14:07 of the second period.
“I didn’t like the fact that we started feeling sorry for ourselves,” Trotz said. “Don’t feel sorry for yourself, get into the game.”
Defenseman Scott Mayfield banked one in off Bishop 24 seconds into the third period to cut the Stars’ lead to 4-2. But Radulov scored on a breakaway at 7:35 and made it 6-2 at 9:16 from the left post.
Beauvillier, who netted his first career hat trick in Thursday’s 7-5 win over the Rangers, gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 3:36 of the first period off a crisp feed from Komarov after the right wing retrieved the rebound of defenseman Ryan Pulock’s blast from the top of the right faceoff circle. But that was about as good as it got for the Isles.
“We didn’t compete,” Mayfield said. “We lost a lot of battles. They beat us to pucks all over the ice, especially in the defensive zone.”
“If we play a good 60 minutes, we have a good chance to win, and we didn’t do that,” Brock Nelson added. “We have to fix it and fix it now.”