Despite the Islanders making a comeback, lack of penalty kills forced their hand in the loss to the Lightning, 6-2, on Tuesday night.
It was a slow first period with the Isles only taking three shots on net. However, the second saw a different team that would muster two goals to tie the game up. Momentum looked to be on the side of the road team, but two penalties would change all of that as the Lightning capitalized on both power-play chances at the end of the second to take a controlling 4-2 lead that they wouldn't surrender the rest of the way.
After awful penalty kills of late, head coach Doug Weight is confused as to what happened to his unit.
"We felt like the game was over with six minutes left in the second," Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "We flipped the switch in the second and probably gave it to them more than they gave it to us in the first. Then we take a couple penalties and we can't kill a penalty anymore."
The goals coming from the Lightning late in the second looked similar as they were all rebound chances around goalie Thomas Greiss in front of the net.
"We've got to bear down on those sticks in close -- tie 'em up, break 'em, whatever you need to do," Scott Mayfield said. "They have a lot of little guys who try to sneak in there and fight for space and we just need to be tougher there."
Greiss, himself, seemed shocked by the end result of the game. He may have a good record at 8-3-2, but he certainly isn't happy with his 3.78 goals-against average and .900 save percentage. He knows he can't keep those numbers up if he wants to continue starting for New York.
"You give up four, five, six a game, you're not being very helpful," Greiss said. "Gotta pick it up."
The Islanders' short comeback was sparked by rookie Mathew Barzal, who had a goal and an assist to Jordan Eberle in the second. But Eberle felt the team wasn't ready to face a hot team like the Lightning, and they made more than one mistake that he knows high-calibur teams will take advantage of.
"We just weren't ready to play," Eberle said. "We woke up in the second but then three quick ones and they were all over us. You make on mistake against a team like that and they can capitalize quickly."
The season series with the Lightning is now tied at one as the Isles picked up a 5-3 win over Tampa Bay back on Nov. 18