Josh Bailey celebrated his 400th career game in style, scoring two points in the Islanders 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators Wednesday night.
Bailey scored a power-play goal in the first period and set up Casey Cizikas for the game-winner on a third period power-play. The Bowmanville, ON, native pulled the puck around Craig Anderson at the side of the net before sliding it back into the crease, where a crashing Cizikas stuffed it home.
“I’d love to say I was trying to set him up,” Bailey said. “I was trying to tuck it in short side, but luckily it seemed to poke out to him and he was able to put it home.”
Bailey’s two-point effort was his second in as many games, while the Islanders improved to 5-0-1 in their last six and 14-4-2 in their last 20 road games.
“We battled pretty hard out there,” Bailey said. “It wasn’t our best game, but we gave ourselves a chance to win. We have to give a lot of credit to our goalie, he played a great game for us and made some timely saves. All in all, it was a good road win.”
Anders Nilsson was solid in net for the Islanders, stopping 35 shots – including 15 in the third period – for his third straight win. The towering Swede has now allowed just two goals in his last two games.
“We played very well in our own end,” Nilsson said. “The defense and the guys in front of me did a hell of a job and that’s why we can walk out of here with two points tonight.”
The game got off to fast and furious start, as the Islanders outshot the Senators 14-13 in the opening frame. Bailey broke the ice late in the first period, beating Anderson high glove from the slot. The goal was the product of some strong passing by the Islanders power-play unit, who sent the puck around the perimeter before Ryan Strome found Bailey alone in the slot.
“We did some good things, but the way the game started, I thought we were going to give up 40 shots,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “After the first we settled down, I thought our young kids got mentally to where they needed to be. We focused and then we battled.”
Both teams tightened up in the second period, taking half as many shots as they did in the first. The Senators broke through on a third period power play, as Milan Michalek corralled a loose puck in a goal-mouth scramble and briefly tied the score.
The Islanders won both games in Ottawa this season, clinching the season series victory over the Senators. The teams will rematch on Tuesday night, as the Isles host the Sens at Nassau Coliseum.
Prior to Tuesday’s game, the Islanders host the Washington Captials on Saturday night. Puck drop is at 5:00 p.m.