It is wasn’t always pretty but the New York Islanders came into New Jersey and got the two points they desperately needed. The Islanders have struggled recently dropping two straight in western Canada but found a way back into the winner’s circle with a 3-2 overtime victory.
With the Capitals and Rangers picking up their play, the Islanders knew they needed to get back on track.
“Every win is huge and the points are huge,” Islanders captain John Tavares said following the overtime victory. “The teams at the top do not really lose three games in a row. I think we pride ourselves on being able to bounce back and have a one game at a time mentality… I think everyone contributed in all areas and did some good things. “
One player who got the chance to contribute was defenseman Brian Strait. He has not seen the ice since December 11, 2014.
“I thought he was excellent,” Jack Capuano said. “It’s tough when you haven’t played for a while and go in… Overall his defense, his gap, his skating, his stick, he jumped into the play. For being out for a while, I thought he came in there and gave us really good minutes tonight.”
The first two periods were rather dull but the action really picked up in the third period. With the Islanders down by 1, Josh Bailey was able to tie the game by redirecting a Calvin de Haan wrist shot.
However the Devils were able to answer and regain the lead. Jaroslav Halak misplayed a puck behind the net, Adam Henrique stole the puck and fed Scott Gomez.
The Islanders were trailing by one with just over 14 minutes remaining but did not panic.
“It’s a different team than we have been in the past couple of years,” Capuano continued. “We got a lot of character, leadership and accountability amongst the guys. I could feel it; we were getting some good zonetime, getting some shots. It was just a matter of time until we got a chance. “
John Tavares rose to the occasion and did exactly what the Islanders needed their captain and superstar player to do. He scored a fluky goal by banking the puck off Keith Kinkaid’s leg.
Later, in overtime Tavares picked Adam Larsson’s pocket and tallied an unassisted game winner.
Keith Kinkaid made his fifth start and did as much as he could to help the Devils but ultimately it was not enough.
“He played very well, a young goaltender that is going through these experiences,” Lou Lamoriello said. “He played as well as we could ask him.”
While the Islanders got the two points they certainly have the ability to elevate their game. Next, they will face the Columbus Blue Jackets in Columbus before a New York showdown with the Rangers.
By: Scott Charles
WLIE 540 AM SPORTSTALKNY Staff Writer
Islanders Insight Senior Editor
Follow us on Twitter @sportstalkny and @Scottmcharles
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