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Game Recap

Islanders 5, Wild 4

Monday, 12.30.2013 / 12:15 AM

Cory Wright

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Islanders 5, Wild 4
New York Islanders 5, Minnesota Wild 4
Three Stars of the Game
Kyle Okposo
Kyle Okposo
G: 2Shots: 6
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 19:55
Thomas Hickey
G: 1Shots: 1
A: 2Hits: 2
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 4TOI: 20:38
Mikko Koivu
Mikko Koivu
G: 0Shots: 5
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 22:50

St. Paul, MN, native Kyle Okposo capped off a gutsy comeback, as the Islanders overcame a three-goal deficit and beat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 Sunday night at Xcel Energy Center.

Okposo (two goals, one assist) and Thomas Hickey (one goal, two assists) led the way for the Islanders, who rallied from a 3-0 hole. The Islanders scored five goals in the final 37 minutes of the take for their first three-goal comeback since Mar. 22, 1994.

“It’s fun to get a win like that,” Okposo said. “We kept chipping away. We were down 3-0 and we just regrouped and decided we were going to go after them and start moving our feet. In the first 22 minutes we weren’t doing that.”

Okposo gave the Islanders their first lead of the game with 7:47 to play in the third, as the Olympic hopeful streaked down the right wing and blasted a slap shot by Josh Harding. The Wild made a late push and briefly tied the score, but 27 seconds later Okposo scored his second goal in two minutes to the put the Isles ahead for good.

“The first goal was just a dipper,” Okposo said. “I think it hit a stick and just went down. The second one, I tried to get in there hard on the forecheck. The puck was just sitting there so I put it in.”

The Islanders spotted the Wild an early three-goal lead, as RyanSuter, Jonas Brodin and former-Islander Nino Niederreiter all scored in the opening 23 minutes. Suter‘s first of the season had the Wild up 1-0 after the opening frame, before Brodin andNiederreiter scored 2:20 apart early in the second.

“We weren’t very good,” Cal Clutterbuck, who was playing his former team for the first time, said. “They had a stranglehold on the game there for a while, but we woke up and dug in a little bit. We started getting back to what makes us successful.”

Islanders captain John Tavares kick-started the offense with his 14th goal of the season, tapping in a loose puck in the Wild crease at 8:45 of the second period. Then with 1:02 left to go in the middle frame, Clutterbuck deflected Hickey’s point shot, cutting the deficit to one and tipping the momentum in the Islanders' favor.

The Wild entered the game 14-0-3 when leading after two periods, but the Islanders kept coming in the third. Hickey pinched off the blueline and deflected a Colin McDonald feed to tie the score at 6:30, setting up the frantic finish and Okposo’s heroics.

Andrew MacDonald, Kevin Poulin and the Islanders penalty kill also stepped up late in the game, sliding and scrambling in front of the Islanders net to hold off the Wild attack.

“Kevin made some big saves when he had to,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “They had some chances and we had a few breakdowns, but we got a few bounces. It’s about time that we got them.”

Poulin finished with 33 saves, while the penalty kill was a perfect four-for-four. Harding made 26 saves in the loss.

The Islanders will head to Boston Monday for a New Year’s Eve date with the Bruins. Puck drop from the TD Garden goes at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday night.

NOTES: University of Minnesota alumni Thomas Vanek had two assists, extending his point streak to five games (3g/4a)… Kyle Okposo extended his point streak to six games (4g/4a)… Michael Grabner (sick) and Josh Bailey (upper body) missed Sunday’s game and are considered day-to-day… Thomas Hickey led the Islanders with a plus-four rating… Travis Hamonic led all Islanders with 27:09 TOI.

scoring summary
1st Period
Ryan Suter (1) ASST: Mike Rupp (1), Torrey Mitchell (7)
1 - 0 MIN
2nd Period
Jonas Brodin (7) ASST: Mikko Koivu (21), Nino Niederreiter (12)
2 - 0 MIN
Nino Niederreiter (7) ASST: Mikko Koivu (22)
3 - 0 MIN
John Tavares (14) ASST: Thomas Vanek (15), Kyle Okposo (23)
3 - 1 MIN
Cal Clutterbuck (5) ASST: Thomas Hickey (6), Brock Nelson (7)
3 - 2 MIN
3rd Period
Thomas Hickey (2) ASST: Colin McDonald (3), Ryan Strome (2)
3 - 3 Tie
Kyle Okposo (13) ASST: Thomas Hickey (7), Andrew MacDonald (12)
4 - 3 NYI
Justin Fontaine (8) ASST: Matt Cooke (9), Marco Scandella (9)
4 - 4 Tie
Kyle Okposo (14) ASST: Thomas Vanek (16)
5 - 4 NYI
penalty summary
1st Period
Torrey Mitchell  Fighting (maj) against  Colin McDonald
Colin McDonald  Fighting (maj) against  Torrey Mitchell
Aaron Ness  Hooking against  Justin Fontaine
2nd Period
Keith Ballard  Hooking against  Cal Clutterbuck
Cal Clutterbuck  Tripping against  Marco Scandella
Mikael Granlund  Holding against  Thomas Vanek
3rd Period
Casey Cizikas  Cross checking against  Torrey Mitchell
Calvin de Haan  Holding against  Dany Heatley
Kyle Brodziak  Hooking against  Frans Nielsen
goalie stats
Kevin Poulin
Kevin Poulin
SA: 37TOI: 60:00
Saves: 33EV: 27 - 31
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .892SH: 1 - 1
Josh Harding
Josh Harding
SA: 31TOI: 59:31
Saves: 26EV: 21 - 26
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .839SH: 0 - 0 is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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