UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The New York Islanders had a rare lead after the first period and a long two-man advantage ahead of them. Everything was seemingly set up for their long losing streak to end.
Then the Florida Panthers got rolling, and the Islanders came out on the short end again.
Mike Santorelli scored two of Florida’s four goals in a 7:54 span of the second period and the Panthers sent the Islanders to their 12th straight loss with a 4-1 victory on Saturday night.
For only the second time in their long slide, the Islanders scored first and had any kind of a lead at all. Like the other, in which New York salvaged a point by losing in a shootout on Nov. 11 at San Jose, it didn’t last.
The Islanders have gone 0-11-1 in their past 12 games, scoring only 11 goals in the last 10. Even a coaching change hasn’t helped as New York has dropped two straight at home since AHL coach Jack Capuano was promoted on an interim basis to replace the fired Scott Gordon.
Matt Moulson scored the only goal for the Islanders (4-12-3), who have an NHL-worst 11 points. New York played without 39-year-old captain Doug Weight, who was sidelined by back spasms.
“We made a couple of key mistakes and had a couple of bad line changes,” Moulson said. “In order to score, we have to shoot pucks on net.”
New York had a 40-31 shots advantage, but only Moulson got a puck past Tomas Vokoun.
On an errant clearing attempt from behind the Florida net, the puck went right to Moulson standing in the slot. His quick wrist shot beat Vokoun to the glove side for his team-leading eighth goal at 13:07.
New York had a chance to extend the advantage but failed to capitalize on a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 1:45 and spanned the first two periods.
“The second period cost us the game,” Capuano said, “but the turning point was not capitalizing on the five-on-three.”
Marty Reasoner and Stephen Weiss also scored for the Panthers. Vokoun made 39 saves.
The Panthers took the lead for good when Reasoner drove a screened shot past goalie Dwayne Roloson 39 seconds later after his seventh straight start in goal.
Santorelli struck again at 6:25 when he converted a pass from David Booth to give the Panthers a 3-1 edge. Weiss made it 4-1 at 10:21.
“I’m just trying to improve,” Santorelli said. “Playing with great players certainly helps.”
Santorelli has already made his coach notice his contributions.
“I like the way he plays,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “I’m comfortable when he’s on the ice.”
NOTES: It was Santorelli’s first multipoint game in the NHL. … The Panthers, 4-7 on the road, scored more than three goals away from home for the first time this season. … After playing 12 of their first 17 games on the road, the Islanders are in a stretch in which they will have to jump on a plane only twice in the next month.