UNIONDALE, N.Y. – New York Islanders goalie Nathan Lawson had quite an NHL debut.
Not only did he experience 60 minutes of regulation action, he also got through his first overtime and shootout, too. Although the struggling Islanders managed one point, they couldn’t secure the second in a 4-3 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.
Kyle Turris scored Phoenix’s third goal of the shootout for the Coyotes, who rallied late just to force overtime.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata also scored for Phoenix in the shootout. Martin Hanzal scored with 1:28 left in regulation to spoil Lawson’s chance at a win.
“I just try to take it one shot at a time,” Lawson said. “The big differences up here are speed, and harder forechecking and harder shooting.”
Vrbata, and Wojtek Wolski also scored in regulation, and Jason LaBarbera made 41 saves for Phoenix in his second consecutive start in place of ailing goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
The Coyotes went 1-1-1 against the three New York-area teams, and bounced back from Thursday night’s shootout loss to the Rangers.
Jesse Joensuu, Michael Grabner and Rob Schremp had goals for the Islanders, who were looking for their second straight win following a six-game losing streak. Lawson, recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL earlier Saturday, made 32 saves.
“I felt really good out there,” Lawson said. “I wasn’t nervous at all. It was a great game until the last minute-and-a-half.”
Phoenix grabbed a 1-0 lead when Vrbata tipped a point shot from Doan past Lawson at 6:57 on the Coyotes’ first power play for his seventh goal. The Islanders held a 19-8 shots advantage in the first.
The Islanders tied it midway through the second period. John Tavaras made a beautiful cross-ice pass to Joensuu to set up a slapshot from the left circle that beat LaBarbera high to the glove side.
New York took a 2-1 lead at 14:46 when Grabner, while falling, buried a rebound of Joensuu’s shot.
Phoenix tied it at 4:03 of the third period when Wolski found a rebound and quickly put it past Lawson.
New York went back up 3-2 at 6:22 on a power-play goal by Schremp.
Hanzal got the Coyotes even again when he scored off a wild bounce in front.
“When you dig yourself a hole, you have to work your way out of it,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “Tonight, we did.”
The Islanders had only high praise for Lawson, who got the start because goalie Rick DiPietro was scratched due to a minor injury to his surgically repaired knee.
“I thought he was excellent,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said of Lawson. “He was our best player on the ice.”
NOTES: The Islanders have lost 19 of 23 (2-17-4). … Phoenix is three games into a six-game trip. The Coyotes will have played every Atlantic Division team except Philadelphia before going to San Jose and Dallas.