John Tavares scored the deciding goal in the shootout, lifting the Islanders to a 4-3 shootout victory over the Nashville Predators and snapping a seven game losing streak at the Nassau Coliseum
Martin Biron earned a victory in net for the Islanders - his first since November 13, 2009.
"It felt good. It's been a while," Biron said. "It was one of those games where I was trying to get myself in a rhythm. The guys definitely came through with some key plays at a key point of the game."
That key play Biron mentioned came with 11.1 seconds left and the Islanders down by one goal.
With Martin Erat in the penalty box for boarding and Biron pulled in favor for the extra attacker, Mark Streit took a pass from recently recalled Matt Martin and ripped a slapshot over the shoulder of Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne to send the game to overtime tied up at 3-3.
"Sometimes you get feelings," Biron said. "You're sitting on the bench, its a 6-on-4 with 30 seconds left and you think 'I'm going back in there.' It's exactly the feeling I had. The guys pulled through."
The assist would be second of two assists for Martin - his first career NHL points.
"It felt great," Martin said of his first two points. "The second goal was kind of a blur. I saw Streit open there and he made a great shot."
After an exciting extra period which saw plenty of end to end action, Frans Nielsen started off the shootout using his patented backhand deke, giving the Islanders an early lead. However, Erat would tie it up in the third round after Biron took a chance with a diving poke check.
"In the shootout, sometimes you get antsy and do some things that you shouldn't have done," Biron said. "JT scored a big goal after that, and definitely the second time I wasn't going to try anything crazy out there."
In the extra round, Tavares would give the Islanders the lead, lifting a shot over Rinne's right pad. That would be all the Islanders needed as Biron would stop Patric Hornqvist for the Islanders victory.
The opening period did not see much action, as Nashville outshot the Islanders 9-3. Both teams received one power play, but failed to convert on their opportunities.
Freddy Meyer put the Islanders on the scoreboard first 5:10 into the second period with his second goal of the year. After an energetic shift from Rob Schremps line, Schremp came up with the puck again and skated into the Nashville zone with his linemates at his side along the right side of the ice.
Schremp noticed Meyer streaking down the middle and dished the puck off to the Isles defenseman, who fired it through the arm of Rinne for the 1-0 lead.
Hornqvist thought he had evened up the game for the Predators midway through the second period while on the power play. Hornqvist attempted to corral a rebound opportunity with his skate, however kicked it through the legs of Biron. The play was originally ruled a goal by referee Frederic L'Ecuyer, but was later overturned on a formal video review.
Two minutes later however, the Predators would get on the board on Cal O'Reilly's first goal of the season. The play evolved as Biron had trouble handling a high shot by Ryan Jones, which popped up in the air over his head. As Jones skated in to put the rebound home, the puck shot out right to the stick of OReilly, who put it past a fallen Biron to tie the game at 1-1.
Another two minutes later, Nashville would end up taking the lead on Joel Wards 12th goal of the season. Ward took advantage of an Islanders line change and after receiving a pass from Jerred Smithson was off on a breakaway. Ward managed to slide the puck through the legs of Biron for a 2-1 Nashville lead.
Bruno Gervais would even up the game for the Islanders at 2-2 with less than a minute left in the second period. With two men in the box for Nashville, Martin was used as a big presence in front of Rinne to cause havoc in front of the net. Martin screened an Andrew MacDonald shot, and got the rebound, which deflected off Rinne. However Gervais broke for the middle, and fired a shot past the right pad of Nashvilles netminder for his second goal of the season.
Steve Sullivan gave Nashville an early third period lead with his 12th goal of the year on the power play. After the Islanders killed a crucial five-on-three penalty kill, Nashville still kept the puck in the Islanders zone. Jason Arnott fed a pass to the point to Martin Erat, who then dished it off to Sullivan, who one-timed a shot past a moving Biron for a 3-2 Nashville lead.
However the Islanders would roar back with Streit's late goal, and would ice it in the shootout for the victory.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. John Tavares, NYI: Scored shootout-deciding goal. 2. Joel Ward, NSH: 12th goal of the season. 3. Matt Martin, NYI: Two assists in NHL debut. Honorable Mention:Freddy Meyer, NYI: Goal, seven hits, 19:44 of ice time
Where are the new boys? Islanders recently recalled Matt Martinand Jesse Joensuu from Bridgeport on Monday. Martin made his NHL debut, and logged 14:41 of ice time, with two assists and three hits. He was also a sizable presence in front of the opposing netminder on the power play.
"I went to watch Bridgeport play two weeks ago," Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon said. "That was the first thing that caught my eye about Matt Martin, and that was his willingness to stand in front of the net on the power play."
This is Joensuu's second stint with the team this season, and he logged a goal in his previous seven games with the big club.
Slapshots: Islanders outshot Nashville, 32-27....Andrew MacDonald led all Islanders with 28:35 of ice time...Nashville was 1-5 on the power play, while the Islanders were 2-6 on the man advantage...Jeff Tambellini, Dwayne Rolosonand Doug Weight were the Islanders scratches...This was the only meeting between the two teams this season, and Nashville's first visit since October 16, 2006...Islanders now have an all-time record of 5-6-1 against Nashville.
25 Jerred Smithson - 11 David Legwand - 29 Joel Ward
26 Steve Sullivan - 19 Jason Arnott - 27 Patric Hornqvist
71 J.P. Dumont - 16 Cal OReilly - 10 Martin Erat
28 Ryan Jones - 33 Colin Wilson - 22 Jordin Tootoo
20 Ryan Suter - 6 Shea Weber
8 Kevin Klein - 2 Dan Hamhuis
52 Alexander Sulzer - 51 Francis Bouillon
35 Pekka Rinne
39 Dan Ellis
1 - 0 NYI
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 NSH
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 NSH