Powered by multi-point performances from Kyle Okposo and John Tavares, the New York Islanders beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 Thursday at Nassau Coliseum. With the victory, the Islanders improved to 3-2-2 overall and extended their streak of earning a point in every home game this season (2-0-2).
Evgeni Nabokov saved 27-of-29 shots, shutting the door for 22 saves over the second and third periods as the penalty kill enjoyed a perfect 3-for-3 effort.
“It was good to see us come away with a pretty complete game in terms of the way we have to play and how hard we have to play,” Tavares said. “Obviously we had a couple letdowns with their goals but we responded well. We have to bring it again Saturday (vs. Carolina).”
Josh Bailey put the Islanders up 1-0 with a one-timer from just outside the crease. Travis Hamonic skated down below the goal line and dished to an untouched Bailey, who converted his third goal of the season at 9:59 of the opening period.
Later in the frame, Edmonton’s Taylor Hall tied the game and put the Oilers on top with goals eight seconds apart. On the first tally, Hall took a cross-ice pass from Justin Schultz and beat Nabokov. The ensuing face off drifted back into the Islanders defensive zone, where Mark Arcobello took a long range shot from the right side. The rebound kicked out to Hall, who buried the second chance at the 16:00 mark. Hall broke Edmonton’s franchise record for quickest two goals by a single player, set by Wayne Gretzky (nine seconds) in February 1981.
The Islanders tied the game in the second period on the man advantage. Tavares found Matt Moulson near the goal line on the right side. Moulson made a one-touch pass to Okposo, who was breaking toward the goal. Okposo’s one-timer beat Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk at 4:54, tying the contest at 2-2.
The Islanders penalty kill was perfect on three straight opportunities in the second period, keeping momentum from swinging in Edmonton’s favor. Nabokov made crucial saves on Nail Yakupov and Schultz during one man disadvantage, and later made one on Arcobello that brought the crowd to its feet.
"Your goalie has to be your best player on the penalty kill,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “They seamed us quite a few times on that PK in the second period and had a couple one-timers. He made some big saves for us and really that was the turning point.”
Toward the end of the period, Tavares gave the Islanders another lead.
Okposo, skating below the goal line, found the Islanders captain between the face-off circles. Tavares stepped into his shot, beating Dubnyk top shelf.
The Islanders aggressively defended their lead throughout the final 20 minutes, taking the first 10 shots on goal of the third period and finishing with a 15-8 shots advantage in the frame.
“We want to keep going at them and be responsible with puck decisions,” defenseman Andrew MacDonald said. “There were consecutive shifts there where we were hemming them in and forwards were doing a great job cycling in deep. We made smart decisions and chipped pucks in. That's the way we need to play.”
Still holding a one-goal lead, the Islanders were awarded a power play with 1:46 remaining in regulation. Dubnyk was subsequently exchanged for an extra Oilers attacker, but neither team scored in the final moments of regulation.
The Islanders continue their home stand Saturday, Oct. 19, when the Carolina Hurricanes make their first trip of the season to Nassau Coliseum for a 7:00 p.m. start.
The Islanders out-shot the Oilers 40-29, topping the 40-shot plateau for the second consecutive game … Matt Martin led the Islanders with five shots … Andrew MacDonald led all players with 26:00 of ice time and four blocked shots … The Islanders out-hit Edmonton 2818, led by five apiece from Cal Clutterbuck and Martin … The Islanders went 1-for-5 on the man advantage, while Edmonton went 0-for-3 … Michael Grabner earned his sixth assist of the season on Tavares’ third period goal, topping his assist total from last season … Tavares has points in six consecutive games (four goals, five assists), including three multi-point efforts.
New York Islanders
60 Kevin Poulin
4 Taylor Hall - 26 Mark Arcobello - 14 Jordan Eberle
57 David Perron - 93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - 64 Nail Yakupov
94 Ryan Smyth - 27 Boyd Gordon - 83 Ales Hemsky
28 Ryan Jones - 41 Will Acton - 13 Mike Brown
21 Andrew Ference - 15 Nick Schultz
5 Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry
77 Anton Belov - 19 Justin Schultz
40 Devan Dubnyk
1 Jason LaBarbera
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