CHI
46-21-15
NYI
34-37-11
OT
39 SOG
34 SOG

Okposo's OT goal lifts Islanders by Blackhawks

Cory Wright | Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 10:50 PM

Kyle Okposo made a statement Thursday night, scoring the overtime winner as the Islanders defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 at Nassau Coliseum.

Okposo’s winner – a high snap shot from the slot – capped off a two-point night, extended his personal point streak to eight games (six goals, seven assists) and propelled Okposo into the top-10 in league scoring. The OT-winner may have held extra meaning for Okposo, who was left off the Team USA roster for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi.

“When that puck went in and I heard everybody chanting ‘USA’, it was pretty special,” Okposo said. “I just wanted to go out and play my game. I didn’t prepare any different.”

The win was the Islanders’ third in a row – their first three-game win streak of the season – with the last two coming over last year’s Stanley Cup finalists, the (Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks).

“Now you are starting to see a lot more confidence in our game,” Captain John Tavares said. “I like the energy on the bench and in the locker room. The emotion is there and you can just feel the hunger from the guys. We’re starting to get the results.”

Thomas Vanek and Casey Cizikas also scored for the Islanders, who opened up a 2-0 lead in the first half of the game despite being outshot two-to-one in the first period. Cizikas broke up a breakout pass at center ice and skated one-on-one with Corey Crawford, before making a quick backhand-to-forehand move and netting his fifth of the season at 15:24 of the first.

Vanek extended the Islanders lead to 2-0 with his 14th goal of the season, extending his point streak to seven games (4g/6a). The Austrian sniper was battling in front of the Blackhawks net and banged in a loose puck at 8:09 of the second period.

The Blackhawks responded with two quick strikes – one late in the second period and another early in the third – to notch the game at two.

With time winding down in the second stanza, the Blackhawk’s third-ranked power play struck on their first opportunity, as Brent Seabrook hammered home a cross-ice pass from Kris Versteeg. The Blackhawks blitzed the Islanders early in the third, and Ben Smith finished off a Chicago-jam session in front of Evgeni Nabokov.

“There are still some points where we’ve lightened up and teams have been able to strike against us, but we’ve done a good job of just sticking with it,” John Tavares said.

The teams traded chances the rest of the way and the Islander’s top line came close to closing the game out in regulation. Okposo fed Tavares on a two-on-one attempt, but the puck came off of the heel of Tavares’ stick. The captain returned the favor for Okposo at the end of regulation, but Okposo was robbed by Crawford’s glove. Eventually the relentless attack paid off, as Tavares fed Okposo for the winner.

“That was one of the best games of the season,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “I’ve coached a few games, this was one of the fastest games [I’ve seen].”

The win wouldn’t be possible without stellar goaltending from Evgeni Nabokov, who made 37 saves en route to the second star. His counterpart made 31 saves in the overtime loss.

The Islanders look to extend their win streak to four games Saturday, when they host the Carolina Hurricanes at Nassau Coliseum. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.

NOTES: Casey Cizikas was playing in his 100th career game… Andrew MacDonald had two assists and led the team with 24:31 TOI… Matt Donovan was recalled from loan from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Thursday… Matt Martin led all players with five hits.

Islanders Lines:

26 Thomas Vanek – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo

40 Michael Grabner – 51 Frans Nielsen – 15 Cal Clutterbuck

29 Brock Nelson – 18 Ryan Strome – 13 Colin McDonald

16 Peter Regin – 53 Casey Cizikas – 17 Matt Martin

47 Andrew MacDonald – 14 Thomas Hickey

44 Calvin de Haan – 3 Travis Hamonic

7 Matt Carkner – 37 Brian Strait

20 Evgeni Nabokov

60 Kevin Poulin

Blackhawks Lines:

10 Patrick Sharp – 19 Jonathan Toews - 81 Marian Hossa

23 Kris Versteeg – 26 Michal Handzus - 88 Patrick Kane

29 Bryan Bickell – 65 Andrew Shaw - 20 Brandon Saad

52 Brandon Bollig - 16 Marcus Kruger - 28 Ben Smith

2 Duncan Keith - 7 Brent Seabrook

8 Nick Leddy - 17 Mike Kostka

27 Johnny Oduya - 4 Niklas Hjalmarsson

50 Corey Crawford

31 Antti Raanta

1st2nd3rdOTT
CHI
NYI
Scoring Summary
1st Period
15:24NYI Casey Cizikas (5) ASST: NONE 1 - 0 NYI
2nd Period
08:09NYI Thomas Vanek (14) ASST: Kyle Okposo (26), Andrew MacDonald (15) 2 - 0 NYI
18:36CHI PPG - Brent Seabrook (5) ASST: Kris Versteeg (15), Nick Leddy (14) 2 - 1 NYI
3rd Period
01:50CHI Ben Smith (5) ASST: Jonathan Toews (26), Patrick Sharp (20) 2 - 2 Tie
OT Period
00:58NYI Kyle Okposo (16) ASST: John Tavares (29), Andrew MacDonald (16) 3 - 2 NYI
Three Stars of the Game
Kyle Okposo
1st
Kyle Okposo
RW
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 19:43
Evgeni Nabokov
2nd
Evgeni Nabokov
G
SA: 39TOI: 60:58
GA: 2EV: 37-38
PIM: 0PP: 0-1
SV%: .949SH: 0-0
Ben Smith
3rd
Ben Smith
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 12:30
Penalty Summary
1st Period
NONE
2nd Period
17:26NYI Matt Carkner  Tripping against  Nick Leddy
19:35CHI Patrick Sharp  Cross checking against  Thomas Hickey
3rd Period
13:13CHI Andrew Shaw  Boarding against  Brian Strait
OT Period
NONE
shots by period
PeriodCHINYI
1st125
2nd1314
3rd1314
OT11
Total3934
Team Stats
CategoryCHINYI
Power Plays1/10/2
Hits313
Faceoff Wins2826
Giveaways911
Takeaways26
Blocked Shots1416
Penalty Minutes42
  • CHICAGO
  • NY ISLANDERS
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
2D. KeithD00-20025:41
4N. HjalmarssonD00-22024:02
6M. KostkaD0013013:27
7B. SeabrookD10-13023:04
8N. LeddyD0111014:44
10P. SharpL0103218:37
16M. KrugerC0000013:57
19J. ToewsC0115020:00
20B. SaadL00-22013:10
23K. VersteegL0102014:51
26M. HandzusC00-11015:00
27J. OduyaD00-12020:33
28B. SmithR1013012:30
29B. BickellL00-11010:51
52B. BolligL0002010:25
65A. ShawC00-11213:01
81M. HossaR0004017:41
88P. KaneR00-24018:18
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
50C. Crawford3134.91260:58
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
3T. HamonicD00-12024:16
7M. CarknerD0010212:22
13C. McDonaldR0001010:45
14T. HickeyD0022021:37
15C. ClutterbuckR0000015:44
16P. ReginC0002013:10
17M. MartinL0002013:18
18R. StromeC0006013:46
21K. OkposoR1123019:43
26T. VanekL1012018:54
29B. NelsonC0003013:09
37B. StraitD0010014:24
40M. GrabnerR0001014:43
44C. de HaanD00-11021:46
47A. MacDonaldD0220024:31
51F. NielsenC0002016:40
53C. CizikasC1002013:05
91J. TavaresC0125020:49
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
20E. Nabokov3739.94960:58