The New York Islanders could not hold a third-period lead Thursday night, falling 3-2 to the Edmonton Oilers, in overtime, at Rexall Place.
Frans Nielsen and Anders Lee scored to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead heading into the third period, but the Oilers scored twice in the final frame to overtime, where Taylor Hall completed the comeback by deflecting a Sam Gagner shot past Evgeni Nabokov.
“[It’s the] same old story,” Travis Hamonic said. “I thought we had control of that game until the 14-minute mark of the second period. A team like that – they just need a little opportunity. They got the goal and then their momentum got going.”
The Islanders came out of the gate strong, outshooting the Oilers 13-4 in the first period en route to a 2-0 lead. Nielsen opened the scoring with a shorthanded-goal midway through the period, keeping and shooting on a 2-on-1 rush. The opener was Nielsen’s second shorthanded-goal of the season and the Islanders eighth as a team, which is the second-most in the NHL.
Eight minutes later, Lee tipped home the Islanders second goal, redirecting a Brian Strait point shot past Ben Scrivens. Lee’s goal was his fourth goal of the season and his seventh point (five goals, two assists) in seven career games.
“I’m just trying to go to the net, hang around there and make plays,” Lee said. “Right now I’m just getting my bounces.”
The momentum from the first period carried into the second, but couldn’t be replicated in the third. The Oilers found their footing on Ryan Smyth’s power-play goal at 8:28 and pressed the Islanders in the back half of the period, until to Philp Larsen’s game-tying goal with 3:07 to play.
Michael Grabner had the game on his stick in the final minute of regulation, but his breakaway was stopped by Scrivens.
“I thought I got a pretty good shot off, but he read it pretty well,” Grabner said. “It hit his shoulder there. I had a big chance in overtime, but I thought I had less time than I did.”
The teams traded chances in the sudden-death period, but Hall’s deflection was the first to find the back of the net at 2:29.
The loss ended the Islanders bid for a 12th road win in 15 tries, but the visitors did take season series with the Oilers [three points-to-two]. The Islanders look to split their season series with the Calgary Flames Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Puck drop was originally scheduled for 9 p.m., but was pushed back to 9:28 p.m. due to a pre-game ceremony for Joe Nieuwendyk.
NOTES: Travis Hamonic led the Islanders with 24:33 TOI… Michael Grabner led the Islanders with five shots… Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck led the Islanders with five hits apiece… The Islanders are 9-3-1 in their last 14 games against the Oilers… The Islanders are 11-3-1 in their last 15 road games.