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Lack of finishing touch dims solid Islanders effort in 2-1 shootout loss to Stars

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Jason Robertson Stars Islanders
Dallas Stars’ Jason Robertson celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

ELMONT — The New York Islanders continue to be plagued by the lack of a scoring touch — something that has haunted the franchise for years —  and it came back to bite them again in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night at UBS Arena. 

Stars goalie Jake Oettinger turned away all three New York shootout attempts while Jason Robertson scored the visitors’ only regulation and shootout goals, marring a solid bounce-back performance by the Islanders in their first game back from a four-game road trip in which they went 1-3. 

“We deserved better,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “We didn’t get it so we just have to move on to the next game.”

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Both regulation goals came in the first period with Robertson putting the Stars in front early. He snuck behind the Islanders’ defense on a zone entry and was able to finish a 1-on-1 chance with ease around Ilya Sorokin just 3:42 into the game for his 29th goal of the season.

Anders Lee provided a just equalizer on the power play with 6:21 to go in the frame when he managed to legally redirect a Brock Nelson pass from the right circle with his foot and into an open net. His goal tied Nelson for the Islanders’ team lead with 15 this season.

It was a much-needed tally for a power play that had been 2-for-its-last-36 and for a team that had scored just six goals at home in the first period over its first 18 games at UBS Arena this season. It was also the first first-period power-play goal the Islanders recorded all season.

“If we play like that, we’re going to put ourselves in a really good spot,” Lee said of his power-play goal and the Islanders’ ability to churn out 15 high-danger chances throughout the night. “It was a good rebound after the trip… everyone was solid.”

Casey Cizikas looked as though he put the Islanders in front late in the second period when Jake Oettinger misplayed a dump-in behind the net for the forward to shuffle in. But the play was deemed offside as Anthony Beauvillier was making a line change at the door in the Islanders’ zone. 

“I think you have to be more aware of where you are,” Lambert said of Beauvillier’s mishap that ultimately cost the Islanders the lead. 

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