Nabokov made 24 saves in his first action since Nov. 16, complementing a solid defensive effort from the Islanders. The 38-year-old kept the Islanders in the game with some big third-period saves, but Max Pacioretty broke the scoreless deadlock 1:51 into overtime, finishing a back-door play from David Desharnais. The Islanders have recorded points in two of their last three games and three straight at the Coliseum.
“The guys did a hell of a job around the net and in the neutral zone. It was a tight game. We did a lot of good things defensively,” Nabokov said.
The winner came on what appeared to be a broken play, as Desharnais initially went for the wraparound, but the puck found its way to Pacioretty, who made no mistake for his 12th of the season.
“I thought [Desharnais] was going to wrap around,” Nabokov said. “I’m not sure if he saw [Pacioretty] there, or just fanned on it, but it got into the back door.”
The Islanders offense could not break through Saturday, but came closest when John Tavares hit the post about 14 minutes into the first period.
“Offensively we had our chances in a couple of odd-man rushes and a couple of 2-on-1's, but we just can't find the back of the net right now,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “Both teams played pretty structured tonight but they got the one in when they needed it.”
Strome made his highly-anticipated debut Saturday, recording two shots over 14:42 TOI. The Islanders top-forward prospect centered a line with Brock Nelson and Cal Clutterbuck, but also saw time on the top power-play unit and was paired with Tavares during a four-on-four stretch.
“Defensively I thought I was pretty good and from my own end out I had good compete level,” Strome said. “I came in not knowing what to expect, but my linemates helped me a lot. I think the rest is going to take care of itself if I can do those little things.”
Strome’s play earned positive reviews from captain John Tavares and head coach Jack Capuano.
“He'll learn offensively that you don't have that time and space that you have in the American league,” Capuano said. “I was pleased with his first game. He was excited and nervous, but he played well for us tonight.”