GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Islanders are still frustrated, still not scoring and now in the throes of a three-game losing streak.
Coyotes rookie goaltender Louis Domingue made 25 saves and wasn’t tested nearly enough in a 1-0 Islanders loss Saturday night. The Isles have scored two goals in their three straight defeats, their longest stretch without a point this season.
They trailed 1-0 entering the third but were outskated by the Coyotes, who pressed for a two-goal edge only to be denied a few times by Jaroslav Halak, who finished with 28 saves.
Even a power play with 8:54 to go generated little for the Islanders, who had just seven third-period shots on Domingue, who was making his first start of the season for Arizona.
The Islanders finished the second period with their best action of the game, putting more shots on Domingue and clogging the slot a bit better.
But the rookie goaltender made stops on Brock Nelson off a wrist shot from 20 feet, then on Josh Bailey on a power move to the net from the right wing. That could have given the Isles a better feeling than they had for most of the opening 40 minutes, when they had the puck plenty but didn’t seem to be able to get it into a dangerous spot.
There was some extra shoving after whistles in the second as well as the Islanders tried to show some fight after their lackluster first. The fourth line of Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck (wearing an alternate captain’s ‘A’ that normall belongs to Kyle Okposo) got it started — Martin made the crowd gasp as he barely missed a huge hit on Ekman-Larsson — and Nelson and Ryan Strome continued it, giving out some face-washes and shoves.
But goals were what the Islanders needed and could not find. They were coming off two games in which they played excellent first periods but couldn’t score and ended up losing, first 5-1 at home to the Panthers and then 2-1 to the Avalanche in Denver.
“We played two pretty good games,” Jack Capuano said, “we just didn’t get the results we wanted.”
There was no sugar-coating Saturday’s first period, however. With Domingue making just his ninth NHL appearance, the Islanders needed to be throwing as much rubber on net as possible. That stance was reinforced by the Isles first shot attempt of the night, when Frans Nielsen snapped a shot from a sharp angle that Domingue missed. It hit the crossbar and pinged away just 25 seconds in.
But there wasn’t enough push over the remainder of the first, a stretch that included an Islanders power play. Strome took Okposo’s spot on the top unit, but that group passed and passed but never got off a shot.
The Coyotes grabbed the lead after the Islanders failed twice to exit their zone, the second one when Anders Lee fumbled away a John Tavares pass from his skates. Anthony Duclair circled around and fed Ekman-Larsson for a one-timer from the high slot that beat Halak low to the glove side at 17:59 of the first.