#UNIONDALE, N.Y. — All good things must come to an end.
For the Islanders that meant an end to their six-game winning streak on Tuesday night. Hampered by a sluggish effort, poorly timed penalties and a couple of unlucky bounces, the Islanders fell to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in front of a near sellout crowd at Nassau Coliseum.
It was squandered power play in the third period with the game even at two that sent things in the wrong direction for New York. Justin Williams, who was just sprung from the penalty box with just under three minutes to play, was able to sneak a backhander behind Thomas Greiss to put Carolina ahead 3-2.
The Hurricanes added another goal just over a minute later on the power play off a wrist shot from Jaccob Slavin.
“They had a good kill. They were the better (team) on the special teams in that regard,” Anders Lee said. “As a power play, we have to know our outs. We had our outs. We just didn’t enter the way we wanted to and we didn’t really end up getting our control on our unit. The other unit had some good opportunities, but on our end it wasn’t good enough.”
The loss snapped what had been the long active winning streak in the NHL and kept the Islanders from extending a streak like that to seven games for the first time since 1989-90. It was also the Islanders first regulation loss at Nassau Coliseum since they returned to the venue in December.
The Islanders effort on Tuesday night was far better than the one they had in St. Louis on Saturday, but it was not where it should have been against a dangerous Hurricanes team.
“I thought we just mismanaged the game,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “It was on use. I didn’t think we had enough of the lines going. I thought the Nelson line was really good for us, but the rest not as good as I’d like to see…
“There are certain moments and certain events that you have to execute what is in the best interest of the group at the time knowing the score, knowing the situation and we didn’t do that today. That’s a good way to lose hockey games.”
The Islanders played a decent first period, outshooting the Hurricanes 7-5 and scoring the game’s opening goal. Brock Nelson found the back of the net off a quick wrist shot that beat Curtis McElhinney at 13:42.
The lead was short lived with Carolina responding at 15:10 thanks to a goal from Saku Maenalanen. They jumped in front with six seconds left in the first period off a goal from Greg McKegg.
The Islanders looked as though they had tied the game in the second period, but the goal was overturned because of an offside call. Devon Toews scored in the third to tie the game before the Islanders surrendered two goals.
Brock Nelson was able to score his second goal of the night to pull New York within one.
“The last two minutes of periods you have to be aware of the time and situation,” Jordan Eberle said about the late goal against in the first. “Make sure you’re making plays to not get yourself in that situation.”
The frustrating loss for the Islanders sets up an interesting scenario heading into a home-and-home with the New York Rangers beginning on Thursday. The Islanders are back on the outside looking in as far as a playoff spot goes and points in both of their upcoming games are vital.
The loss to Carolina, which is five points behind the Islanders in the standings, make them all that more important.