Tavares busts slump in Islanders win over Senators

John Tavares and Travis Hamonic had a goal and assist each in the Islanders’ 5-2 win over the Senators.

It’s been a rough couple days for the Ottawa Senators.

After giving up five first-period goals on Thursday night, the Senators fell 5-2 to the New York Islanders on Friday.

“We’re struggling with the details and it has nothing to do with effort or caring, it’s a matter of executing,” said Ottawa goaltender Andrew Hammond.

“All of us, myself included, we just haven’t been good enough and until that changes we won’t see the results that we want.”

Travis Hamonic and John Tavares had a goal and an assist each in the third period for the Islanders.

Hamonic beat Hammond with a slap shot at 2:58 of the third to give New York a 3-2 lead and Tavares slipped a backhand past Hammond at 7:03 for insurance.

Kyle Okposo scored on a bank shot off Ottawa defenceman Jared Cowen to make the score 5-2 at 14:00.

“Overall it was a good road win, especially coming off a bit of a layoff, and it will be good if we can carry this momentum forward,” Tavares said following the Islanders’ first game in five days.

“We did a good job coming out of our own end, something that’s been better for us lately, and it gives guys up front some time to make some plays and create some room. I thought we had a pretty good first period and eventually it paid off.”

The Islanders outshot the Senators 14-4 in the third period and 34-30 overall.

Nick Leddy and Cal Clutterbuck also scored for the Islanders (25-15-6) while Jaroslav Halak made 28 saves for the win.

Bobby Ryan and Erik Karlsson had goals for Ottawa (22-20-6), which lost winger Milan Michalek to a broken finger after blocking a shot.

Michalek was playing just his eighth game this season after missing 16 with a broken finger on the same right hand from blocking a shot on Dec. 1.

“It’s incredible, isn’t it,” Ryan said of the injury.

“It’s frustrating because Milo came back and brought some energy and some leadership. It’s extremely unlucky for him and extremely unfortunate for us.”

The Islanders had the only three power plays and the only goal of the first period.

Ottawa killed the second and third penalties, but the first lasted just 19 seconds after New York scored.

With Erik Karlsson in the box for holding, Leddy took a drop pass from Frans Nielsen and took a one-timer from the slot that beat Hammond stick side at 3:49.

The Senators got their first power play just three seconds into the second period when Matt Martin tripped Ryan off the period-opening faceoff.

Ottawa failed to score with the man advantage, but just two seconds after it ended, Ryan tied the game with a snap shot from the faceoff circle.

The Sens took a 2-1 lead at 10:51 when Karlsson snuck in from the point and beat Halak off a pass from behind the net by Curtis Lazar.

The jubilation was short lived, though, as just 19 seconds later Clutterback evened the score again as Karlsson’s goal was still being announced.

Ottawa is home again Sunday afternoon when it hosts the New York Rangers while the Islanders return home to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

Notes: Kyle Turris missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. Other scratches for the Senators were Marc Methot and Alex Chiasson. Steve Bernier, Scott Mayfield and Jean-Francois Berube were scratches for the Islanders. A third-period slashing penalty gave Senators forward Chris Neil 2,400 penalty minutes for his career. Jaroslav Halak improved to 12-8-4 on the year while Andrew Hammond fell to 3-5-2.

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