ISLANDERS CONTINUE TO FIND WAYS TO WIN
The Islanders took the first two points of a home and home series with the Ottawa Senators. It was not their best effort but they found a way to come back from a one-goal deficit and get the two points.
Both teams started off slow but the Senators found a way to strike first. Mike Hoffman fired a slap shot past Halak to break the sloppy scoreless game.
“We didn’t play our best tonight but we only gave up 18 shots,” Kyle Okposo said after playing over 20 minutes. “That’s pretty good defense. They had some chances and zonetime but we did a pretty good job with our d-zone coverage. We did a good job at blocking shots tonight. It’s a sign of a good team when you don’t play your best and get the two points.”
It remained a one-goal game until late in the second period when Brock Nelson found a way to tie the game. Senators’ defenseman, Cody Ceci fumbled a puck near center ice and the Islanders got a fortunate bounce that resulted in a Nelson breakaway.
There was a little bit of drama at the end of the second period as Casey Cizikas sent a slap shot towards Craig Anderson as time expired in the period. Anderson misplayed the shot and it deflected off his glove and into the back of the net. After reviewing the play it looked like the Islanders could have used another tenth of a second and the goal was waved off.
“We thought we had them on the ropes,” Kyle Okposo said referring to the teams mood after the second period. “We played a really good second period. We just wanted to keep playing the same way. We got a big goal to start the third by Strome, and then they had a pretty good push in the third.”
The Islanders relied on their hot goaltender in the third period as the Senators made their push. Halak remained hot after being named first star of the week by the NHL. He earned is 10th consecutive victory, tying Billy Smith’s franchise record set in 1982. During that streak he has only allowed a remarkable 13 goals.
“We’ve played a lot of hockey lately,” Thomas Hickey said after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime. “I think we (played) six in nine nights. We’re tired. We had a good rest day and a practice, but it’s like coming back from a long road trip. I think there was a little lull”
It wasn’t all good news as Travis Hamonic left the game with an upper body injury. Cal Clutterbuck also left the game with a lower body injury and head coach Jack Capuano said after the game both players were day to day. Michael Grabner is inching closer to a return that could help the forward situation but on defense it is a different story. Johnny Boychuk and Lubomir Visnovksy also remained sidelined with undisclosed injuries. The Islanders might be forced to rely on some of there youth while their veteran defenseman try to get healthy.
By: Scott Charles
WLIE 540 AM SPORTSTALKNY Staff Writer
Islanders Insight Senior Editor
Follow us on Twitter @sportstalkny and @Scottmcharles
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