Islanders fall 4-3 to Oilers in shootout for third straight home loss


Mark Letestu beats Jaroslav Halak in the third round of the shootout as the Islanders fell to the Oilers 4-3. AP Photo via Getty Images courtesy Sportsnet.

When things aren’t going your way, you make changes. Even with coach Jack Capuano making changes to his lines, the Islanders couldn’t hold two leads in a frustrating 4-3 shootout loss to the Oilers at Barclays Center. It was their third consecutive loss. All have come on home ice.

Despite getting offense from other players, the Islanders’ penalty kill again let them down. They gave up two Oilers’ power play goals in three chances including Milan Lucic’s game-tying marker with 3:10 left in the second period.

The difference was Mark Letestu’s goal in the bottom of the third which resulted in Isles’ starter Jaroslav Halak breaking his goalie stick on top of the net. That summed up how things have gone. In a 3-2 shootout defeat to the Flyers, they also blew a two-goal lead. However, the two Flyer tallies came in the last 7:05 of regulation. That included Matt Read’s power play goal at 19:02.

The Islanders responded to Capuano’s challenge with a great start against Edmonton. Having moved Cal Clutterbuck up to the top line with John Tavares and Josh Bailey, Capuano got immediate results when Clutterbuck found a cutting Nick Leddy 13 seconds in for his second of the season. Tavares started it working the puck to Clutterbuck, who made a great centering pass for a Leddy finish. It marked the eighth straight game an Isles’ defenseman has scored a goal.

Shane Prince continued to contribute notching his third increasing to 2-0 at 5:49 of the first period. Dennis Seidenberg set it up along with Calvin de Haan. The 35-year old German veteran who general manager Garth Snow signed late following the World Cup of Hockey has been a real find. Thus far, his eight points (4-4-8) rank third in team scoring. He also picked up a helper on the Isles’ third goal.

Trailing by two, the Oilers got back in it thanks to a Patrick Maroon redirection of defenseman Matthew Benning’s right point shot. Maroon parked himself in front and got a piece of Benning’s blast to beat Halak at 8:22 to pull Edmonton within one.

Penalty trouble hurt the Isles. With Seidenberg off for tripping, Leon Draisaitl was able to score on the power play thanks to a favorable carom off Islander defenseman Travis Hamonic. Hamonic left the contest with an injury which could keep him out of action a while. He only took seven shifts logging 6:10 of ice-time. His block of an Oilers’ shot could prove costly. The Islanders only ice six D due to carrying three goalies. With Ryan Pulock on the injured reserve, they’ll likely recall Adam Pelech for Monday’s game against the Canucks.

The game remained tied until Casey Cizikas was able to get to a Prince feed in front and beat Cam Talbot for a 3-2 lead with 8:42 left in the second. That gave Prince a goal and assist. Seidenberg recorded his second assist of the night.

Unfortunately, another Isles penalty resulted in the Oilers taking full advantage with their second power play goal. Connor McDavid got a step on Tavares forcing the Islander captain to grab a hold of his stick to prevent a scoring chance. On what was a bad break that saw veteran defenseman Johnny Boychuk do a split while banging into the boards, he was unable to recover in time for Milan Lucic’s rebound of a Jordan Eberle shot. The Islanders got better news on Boychuk, who was able to return.

The teams played a scoreless third combining for 18 shots with the Isles holding an 11-7 edge. The best chance came when Bailey forced Talbot into a difficult toe save point blank. Talbot basically is the Oilers because they still haven’t started their backup. I didn’t even know who it was until I checked the game sheet. It’s Jonas Gustavsson, who made 10 saves in relief in one appearance. Talbot finished with 30 saves in his 12th consecutive start. Insane.

With the game still tied at three, it went to three-on-three overtime. Both teams had great chances but the goalies were up to the challenge. It was again Talbot who made the biggest stop when he denied Tavares one-on-one after he undressed Benoit Pouliot with under 15 seconds to play. He made a great move around Pouliot but Talbot got his goal stick on it to force it wide.

None of the first five shooters scored in the shootout. The Isles’ three included Leddy, Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera. After denying Oilers’ sharp shooters Eberle and Ryan-Nugent Hopkins, Halak was unable to thwart Letestu, whose quick snapshot beat him top shelf for the game-winner.

BONY 3 Stars:

3rd Star-Patrick Maroon, Oilers (goal, assist, 3 hits, -1 in 21 shifts-18:02)

2nd Star-Dennis Seidenberg, Islanders (2 assists, 2 shots in 3 attempts, 5 blocked shots, 4 PIM, +2 in 23 shifts-21:41 including 20:27 EV, 1:14 SH)

1st Star-Shane Prince, Islanders (goal-3rd of season, assist, 3 shots in 4 attempts, 2 takeaways, +1 in 17 shifts-13:06 including 12:30 EV, 36 seconds PP)

Notes: In seven games, Prince is 3-3-6. … Halak finished with 20 saves. … Oilers went 2-for-3 on the power play while the Islanders took the collar in three chances. … Benning tallied two assists for Edmonton. … The Oilers won for the first time in New York since Dec. 14, 1999. … McDavid went without a point taking 26 shifts while logging 23:26 with 6 shots in 10 attempts while going minus-one. … Face-offs went in favor of the Oilers 29-27 with McDavid going 9-and-8 while Letestu went 7-and-2. For the Islanders, both Cizikas and Tavares finished 9-and-8. … As a team, the Isles blocked 23 shots led by Thomas Hickey’s 8. Seidenberg had 5 and Boychuk recorded 4. That trio combined for more blocks (17) than the Edmonton total (14). … Islanders (4-6-2) are home for Vancouver Monday before traveling to Tampa and Florida on 11/10-12.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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