Islanders fall behind early and can't recover in 4-1 loss to Flames

Jan 6, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund (11) and New York Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho (25) battle for the puck in front of New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Jan 6, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund (11) and New York Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho (25) battle for the puck in front of New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. / Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Milan Lucic and Blake Coleman scored 89 seconds apart early in the first period and the Calgary Flames beat the New York Islanders 4-1 on Friday night.

Nikita Zadorov and Nazem Kadri also scored to help Calgary win for the third time in four games. Jacob Markstrom stopped 24 shots.

Zach Parise scored for the Islanders, who were without star center Mathew Barzal (lower body injury). Semyon Varlamov, making his first start since a groin injury at Vegas on Dec. 17, finished with 17 saves as New York lost for the third time in four games on its western trip.

Calgary got on the scoreboard 4:36 into the game after the Islanders turned the puck over in their zone. Jonathan Huberdeau passed to Lucic for a one-timer from the faceoff circle on Varlamov’s right.

Coleman made it 2-0 at 6:05 as he got the rebound of his own shot after Varlamov made a stop on the initial backhand attempt on a rush and the forward shoveled the puck in for his seventh.

Zadorov lofted a shot from the point over Varlamov’s left shoulder with 4:39 remaining in the first to make it 3-0. It was his sixth.

Parise got the Islanders on the scoreboard with a minute remaining in the opening period. He beat Zadorov to open up a scoring lane and fired a wrist shot from the faceoff circle top corner for his 12th.

Markstrom denied Jean-Gabriel Pageau on a short-handed breakaway midway through a scoreless second period, and then kicked out his right pad to stop Casey Czikas on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box.

Kadri restored the Flames’ three-goal lead at 6:59 of the third with a sharp-angled shot that sneaked in under the crossbar and past Varlamov’s head. It was Kadri’s 15th. Tyler Toffoli assisted on the play to extend his point streak to four straight games (one goal, three assists).

MISSING BARZAL

Barzal, who has 11 goals and a team-leading 30 assists, didn’t play Friday after scoring his fifth goal in five games in a 4-2 loss at Edmonton on Thursday night. The Islanders tweeted just before puck drop that Barzal was day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

UP NEXT

Islanders: Host Dallas on Tuesday night to open a five-game homestand.

Flames: At Chicago on Sunday night to open a five-game trip.