Frans Nielsen tied the game with 1:12 remaining in regulation, but Brad Richardson scored 2:16 into overtime as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the New York Islanders 5-4 Tuesday at Nassau Coliseum.
“We out-chanced a good hockey team in our building tonight,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “I thought our power play and our penalty killing were good. We had some young guys in the lineup that played pretty well tonight. I'll give [Vancouver] credit; they got pucks to the net and got some rebounds.”
Nelson’s first NHL goal put the Islanders up 1-0 in the third minute of play. Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo misplayed a dump-in behind his net and the puck wound up on the stick of Cal Clutterbuck. The Islanders winger wrapped around the goal and slid the puck across the crease for Nelson to finish the play at 2:26.
“It was exciting, but it would be a lot better if it came in a win,” Nelson said of his first NHL goal. “It was a great play by my two linemates. I was lucky to be on the other end of it.”
Two minutes later, Matt Moulson banged home his fourth of the season on the power play, doubling the Islanders lead. John Tavares worked the puck down low to Frans Nielsen, who threw it on net from the left side. Moulson took two cracks at it before sliding it through Luongo from a hard angle.
Tavares, playing in his 300th career game, extended his point streak to eight games (four goals, seven assists) with the helper.
Sixteen seconds after Moulson’s goal, Ryan Kesler struck at the other end to make the score 2-1. Evgeni Nabokov made a save on a shot from distance by Dan Hamhuis, but Kesler took advantage of the rebound in front for his fourth marker of the season. Before the game was 10 minutes old, Daniel Sedin tied the contest off a cross-ice feed from Jannik Hansen.
Another power play proved fruitful for the Islanders in the second period. Kyle Okposo dropped a backhand pass to Moulson, who wristed a shot just under the bar at 4:48. Nielsen earned his second assist of the night on the play.
Later in the frame, the Canucks tied it again. Henrik Sedin took a pass from his brother Daniel during a 2-on-1 and banked a shot off Nabokov and in at 12:39.
Chris Higgins gave Vancouver its first lead in the closing minute of the second period. Kevin Bieksa’s shot from the right side went off Nabokov’s pad and an unmarked Higgins netted his third of the season 18 seconds before the intermission.
The Islanders struggled to put pressure on Luongo until a power play late in the third period. Though they didn’t score on the man advantage, the ice tilted back in New York’s favor. With 1:12 left on the clock and an Islanders extra attacker on the ice, Nielsen tied the game with his fifth goal of the season. Andrew MacDonald shot the puck from the right point, and Luongo couldn’t stretch out to save the rebound attempt.
Richardson’s overtime winner at 2:16 came on a cross-ice feed that banked off an Islanders defender and in at the 2:16 mark, giving Vancouver the extra point.
“I don't think we played too bad the first two periods,” Tavares said. “I don't think the third was our best compared to the other two. We shot ourselves in the foot a few times there and let them get back in it and take the lead right before the third. I thought we did a lot of good things the first two periods, but mental lapses ended up in the back of our net.”
Tonight’s game concluded a four-game home stand for the Islanders. The club will head to Pittsburgh for their next contest Friday against the Penguins. The first Islanders-Penguins meeting since the 2013 Conference Quarterfinals starts at 7:00 p.m.
Four of the Islanders first nine games have gone past regulation … Matt Moulson has five points (three goals, two assists) in his last two games, and is riding a four game scoring streak (four goals, three assists) … With a pair of assists tonight, Kyle Okposo has three consecutive multi-point games (two goals, four assists) … Through nine games, three Islanders (Frans Nielsen, John Tavares, Kyle Okposo) have 10 or more points … Andrew MacDonald led all players with 31:26 of ice time, topping the 30-minute plateau for the second straight game … Matt Moulson led the Islanders with five shots on goal … John Tavares led the Islanders in the faceoff circle (11-of-18, 61-percent) … The Islanders blocked 20 shots; Andrew MacDonald led the team with four … The Islanders out-hit the Canucks 36-22; Cal Clutterbuck had a game-high seven.
New York Islanders
60 Kevin Poulin
22 Daniel Sedin - 17 Ryan Kesler - 33 Henrik Sedin
20 Chris Higgins - 25 Mike Santorelli - 36 Jannik Hansen
15 Brad Richardson - 9 Zack Kassian
29 Tom Sestito - 13 Jeremy Walsh - 32 Dale Weise
2 Dan Hamhuis - 5 Jason Garrison
23 Alexander Edler - 8 Christopher Tanev
18 Ryan Stanton - 3 Kevin Bieksa
41 Andrew Alberts
31 Eddie Lack