Nielsen scores twice in 3rd as Islanders beat Ducks 4-1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The New York Islanders appear to be showing signs of returning to the kind of solid two-way play that helped them win four straight last month. The power play remains a work in progress, however.
Frans Nielsen scored twice in the third period, backup goalie Thomas Greiss stopped 24 shots, and the Islanders beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 Friday night.
Cal Clutterbuck and Brock Nelson also had goals for the Isles, who won two of three on a California road trip.
''The important thing for us is to build toward playing that type of game consistently, like we did last year,'' Clutterbuck said. ''I think it's taken us a little bit longer this year. But these last three games - even the second last half of our game against Boston (on Sunday) - have been a pretty good indication that we're starting to find it.''
Corey Perry scored for the Ducks, who were coming off consecutive overtime losses at home against the Coyotes and Oilers. Anton Khudobin finished with 25 saves.
''Anytime you lose by three in your building, it's never a fun feeling It's disappointing,'' defenseman Cam Fowler said. ''We just gave up too many opportunities against a good team. We just have to come back to the rink tomorrow ready to work and try to figure this out.''
Nelson opened the scoring at 6:36 of the first period. He used defenseman Josh Manson as a screen and beat Khudobin low to the glove side with a 30-foot wrist shot from the slot.
Nielsen made it 3-1 at 2:47 of the third period off a perfect feed in front by Josh Bailey. Greiss got a huge break when Ryan Kesler's wrist shot from the right circle hit the left post with about 5:35 to play, and Neilsen scored again with 3:32 remaining.
''They made a push, but I thought we were resilient tonight and we stayed with it,'' Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. ''I thought our D played really well. They came really hard on their forecheck. We knew they were going to come hard at us and come down the walls, but we were able to exit the zone pretty well with our breakouts. All four lines really contributed, and it was good to get secondary scoring.''
Nelson, who had the Islanders' only goal in a 2-1 loss at Los Angeles on Thursday night, has scored in consecutive games for the first time since last Dec. 2-4.
''To come back from a little bit of adversity last night, it was pretty good for us to get four,'' said Anders Lee said, who had an assist on Nielsen's second goal.
New York, 0 for 5 on the power play, had more than three man-advantage opportunities for only the third time in their first 18 games.
The Islanders had a two-man advantage after Ryan Getzlaf was sent off for cross-checking at 9:14 of the first period and Kevin Bieksa for high-sticking just 7 seconds later. But Khudobin turned aside all seven shots he faced during that short-handed stretch. The Islanders misfired on five others, and two more were blocked by Ducks defenders.
But Clutterbuck made it 2-0 at 9:35 of the second period, beating Khudobin from short range with a shot that deflected off the goalie's glove after teammate Johnny Boychuk took a shot from the right point that struck Clutterbuck as he tried to jump out of the way.
Anaheim got on the board at 11:23 of the second during a two-man advantage, after Mikhail Grabovski and Boychuk were penalized for tripping and holding 41 seconds apart.
Perry recorded his 301st career goal during a goalmouth scramble with 32 seconds left on Grabovski's penalty, overtaking Paul Kariya for second place on the Ducks' franchise list behind Teemu Selanne's 457.
''The thing about long 5-on-3s like we had, a lot of times when you have them and don't score, you end up losing,'' Clutterbuck said. ''Then they got their 5-on-3 and got a lucky goal. So they won that battle 1-0, but I think we just did a great job of sticking with it.''
Getzlaf's season-opening goal drought reached 13 games, the longest from the start of a campaign during the Anaheim captain's 11-year career. Teammate Jakob Silfverberg's season-opening goal drought reached a career-worst 17 games, one more than last year.
NOTES: A moment of silence was observed for the victims of Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris. ... Sunday will mark Capuano's fifth anniversary as the Islanders' head coach - the longest in franchise history behind Al Arbour, who coached them to four consecutive Stanley Cup titles. ... Islanders D Marek Zidlicky, whose next game will be his 800th in the regular season, was a healthy scratch. Taking his place in the blueline was 21-year-old Adam Pelech, who made his NHL debut following his promotion from Bridgeport of the AHL last Monday. ... The Ducks are in Carolina on Monday night to begin a four-game southeastern road trip, after which they will play seven of their next eight at home.