Zero-for-two at UBS Arena.
At least the boo birds sound in tune acoustically — because the New York Islanders were serenaded by them on Sunday night in a 3-0 loss to former captain John Tavares and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Mitch Marner’s two goals sealed the Islanders’ back-to-back weekend losses after a 5-2 result against the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.
The Islanders have now lost six straight games as they continue to deal with COVID issues. Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Adam Pelech, Andy Greene, Ross Johnston, and Kieffer Bellows remained in COVID protocol on Sunday — the latter swapping out for Anthony Beauvillier after his test was deemed to be a false positive.
His return to the lineup didn’t do much for the Islanders’ offense, which mustered only 20 shots on the net of rookie netminder Joseph Woll, who was making his second career start in the pros.
In fact, the Islanders didn’t seem all that interested in testing the 23-year-old goaltender, who picks up his first career shutout after yielding four in his first outing on Nov. 13 against the Buffalo Sabres.
Given an early 4-on-3 man advantage, the Islanders’ lack of special-teams verve immediately came back to haunt them. While they didn’t record a single shot on the power play, they allowed Marner to creep behind the defense where he was hit with a long stretch pass from Jake Muzzin, putting him in alone on Sorokin. The star winger slotted his shorthanded chance, sneaking a backhander over the pad of the Islanders’ netminder.
The remainder of the first carried the feeling as though it was played entirely in the Islanders’ defensive zone as the Maple Leafs doubled them up in shots 12-6 — though Sorokin kept the deficit at one heading into the break.
New York’s netminder was the only reason why the Islanders remained in Sunday’s game as long as they did, making 37 saves on 40 shots in the loss.
Any hope of an offensive uptick took another hit after Brock Nelson — who scored the only two goals in their loss on Saturday against the Calgary Flames — did not come out of the locker room for the second period.
They mustered just four shots on goal over the first 11 minutes of the period as they continued trying to stymie wave after wave of Maple Leafs attacks.
After killing off a pair of Leafs penalties — one shortened by a trip from Jason Spezza — the Islanders finally showed some offensive aggression late in the frame, though Woll’s crease remained impenetrable.
Within two minutes of the third period, the Islanders were down two after Ondrej Kase weaved through traffic to get in front of Sorokin’s goal before firing home a one-timer off a slick feed from David Kampf.
A Robin Salo turnover sealed the Islanders’ fate with 6:31 to go as his pass was picked off in the neutral zone, leading to Marner picking up his second of the night with an in-close finish on Sorokin.