This wasn’t the first game the Islanders trailed the Canadiens by three goals this season.
As the Islanders squared off with Montreal for the second of three meetings, history repeated itself as they lost 6-2 Tuesday night at Barclays Center after falling into a 3-0 hole. The loss ended the Islanders’ 10-game point streak in Brooklyn that dated to last season.
To cap off the brutal loss, Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk took a skate blade from Artturi Lehkonen to the face in the third period, immediately darted to the locker room and did not return. There was no update on Boychuk’s condition immediately after the game, coach Barry Trotz said.
The Islanders suffered a similar fate Dec. 3 when they traveled to Montreal and fell behind 3-0 before losing 4-2 at Bell Centre. Somehow, the three-goal deficit this time around was even more painful.
The Canadiens scored those three unanswered goals in the opening 20 minutes, subjecting the Islanders to a chorus of boos from the home crowd as they headed to the locker room for the first intermission. It wouldn’t be the last they heard jeers from their fans.
Islanders netminder Thomas Greiss was making his first start since Feb. 13, when he was pulled after giving up three goals on eight shots in the first period against the Predators. The goaltender failed to make it past the first period again Tuesday, getting replaced by Semyon Varlamov after allowing three goals on 12 shots.
After getting blanked by the Bruins on Saturday at the Coliseum, the Islanders’ offensive struggles continued. Going scoreless through the first two periods, their streak without a goal grew to 153:03 over the past two games.
The Islanders had a handful of early chances before a failed attempt to clear the puck along the boards by Greiss was kept in by Montreal. That resulted in a shot from Ben Chiarot that was deflected in by Brendan Gallagher at 13:13 of the first.
Barely two minutes later, Jeff Petry found scored at 15:43. Struggling to clear the puck out of their zone once again, the Islanders handed Charles Hudon his first goal of the season with 1:26 left in the opening period.
The Islanders went on their first power play of the night after Max Domi was called for tripping in the middle of the second period. It didn’t result in much of a man-advantage, however, as the Canadiens’ Paul Byron put away a shorthanded tally at 12:35 to go up 4-0.
Even when gifted a lucky bounce, the Islanders’ first goal in the third period was waved off when officials ruled Anders Lee illegally kicked the puck in. Shortly after that, however, Josh Bailey fed Brock Nelson from behind the Montreal net for the easy tap in at 6:14 of the third to avoid the shutout.
Montreal’s Jordan Weal made it 5-1 at 15:28 of the third before the Islanders capitalized on a five-on-three opportunity at 16:21. An empty-netter from Canadiens forward Joel Armia wrapped things up.