The New York Islanders righted their ship in hostile waters Wednesday night, beating the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in overtime at Honda Center.
John Tavares scored two goals, including the overtime winner, as the Islanders busted out of a three-game losing streak against the league-leading Ducks. Tavares had the puck on his stick on an overtime power play, sent the puck into traffic and watched it pinball past Ducks goalie Jason LaBarbera.
“I just tried to get it through. I saw Kyle in front, but I think it went off [Ryan] Kesler’s stick and surprised [Jason] LaBarbera,” Tavares said of his OT winner. “We’ll take them any way we can get them and we’re happy with the two points.”
The Islanders picked up their first win of their five-game Western road trip against a shorthanded Ducks team that gave the Isles a spirited contest despite missing Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
“I don’t care who you get two points against in this league, you have to earn them,” Tavares said. “They are a good hockey team, they have depth and they play hard. It was a back-and-forth game.”
The Islanders had a firm grip on the first period, outshooting the Ducks 12-4 and outattempting them 20-7. Tavares opened the scoring with his fifth of the season, 3:38 into the first period stationing himself at the side of the net before potting a Calvin de Haan rebound past LaBarbera.
The momentum carried into the second period, as Kyle Okposo scored 10 seconds in on a power play, roofing a puck past LaBarbera. Brock Nelson had a chance to put the Islanders up 3-0 less than a minute later, striking the puck with his glove, but the goal was waved off.
After taking a commanding 19-6 shot advantage, the Ducks wrestled momentum back with a power-play goal midway through the period. Matt Beleskey’s sixth of the season – a redirection at the top of the crease –wound up being part of an 11-shot run for the Ducks, who were able to tie the game with an Emerson Etem goal with 1:09 remaining in the period.
“They had a surge in the second period where they outplayed us for 10 or 12 minutes,” Travis Hamonic said. “They got a lot of pucks on net, but we were able to withstand that.”
The Islanders came out of the period tied and held the Ducks at bay in the third. Beleskey came perilously close to putting the Ducks ahead, but his second of the game – a sliding Hamonic nearly brought the puck into his own net – was overturned upon video review.
Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves in the win, while his counterpart, LaBarbera made 33 saves in the loss.
The Islanders continue their road trip across town, as they face off against the LA Kings Thursday night at Staples Center. Puck drop is at 10:30 p.m. eastern time.