The New York Islanders broke their seven game losing streak on Tuesday night when they defeated the Nashville Predators 4-3 in a shootout. John Tavares scored the game winner in the fourth round of the shoot out to seal the victory for the struggling Islanders. Marty Erat forced the sudden death round when he deked Marty Biron and skated past him to tie the shootout 1-1 after three rounds.
For the second game in a row, a lack of discipline late in the third period led to a power play opportunity for the opponent that cost the Predators a win. A Martin Erat boarding penalty with 46 seconds left opened the door for a Mark Streit six-on-four power play goal to tie the game with 11.1 seconds remaining.
Freddy Meyer and Bruno Gervais scored the other two goals for the Islanders. Matt Martin picked up two assists in his first NHL game. Cal O’Reilly, Joel Ward and Steve Sullivan scored goals for the Predators.
Marty Biron stopped 24 of 27 Predator shots for his third victory of the year. Pekka Rinne played well, stopping 29 of 32 Islander shots and was stuck with the loss.
Both teams started the first period skating well with tight forechecking and plenty of battles for every inch of the ice.
The first break in the action was a call at 10:03 when Martin was whistled for interference on Patric Hornqvist. The Predators fired shots from all areas of the ice but were only credited with one shot officially.
Dan Hamhuis was called for interference on Matt Martin at 16:03. The Islanders also got one shot on the man advantage.
As the period was coming to an end, Sean Bergenheim was called for slashing on a questionable call that was heavily embellished by Jordin Tootoo who got a well deserved diving call at 19:47.
The first period was like a chess match with both teams playing close to the vest. For the first period, the Predators led in shots 9-3 while the were ahead in the Corsi numbers 21-14.
The second period began with a continuation of the four on four carry over. Jason Arnott came close to getting a goal on a shot that went off Marty Biron’s and the crossbar. After time expired on the four on four, Bergenheim came close to a goal but was stifled by Rinne.
The Islanders then looked like a team possessed and put heavy pressure on the Predators at the start of the period. They were outshooting the Preds 6-1 in the period when Freddy Meyer put the seventh shot in the net past Rinne to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead. The Preds appeared to have a problem with a change that gave the Isles an odd man rush with plenty of open ice.
The Preds went on the power play at 8:10 when Frans Nielson was called for hooking. Twenty-nine seconds later, Hornqvist knocked a rebound off an Arnott shot past Biron and into the net. The puck appeared to go off Hornqvist’s leg and the officials in Toronto confirmed a “kicking motion” so it was declared no goal.
The Preds got on the board legitimately when O’Reilly picked up a loose puck to the left of the Isles net and shot it through traffic into the net at 10:35 to tie the game 1-1.
At 13:51, Ward took advantage of a poor Islander line change and took the puck from center ice on a breakaway to wrist it through Biron’s five hole to give the Preds a 2-1 lead. The Isle’s frustration was clear when Andy Sutton tomahawked his stick (twice) across the top of the net sending pieces in all directions.
Jerred Smithson was sent to the box at 17:21 for interference and was followed 20 seconds later by Shea Weber for cross checking giving the Islanders 1:40 of 5-on-3 advantage. At 19:03 the Isles split the Preds defense that allowed Bruno Gervais to find an opening to the net to tie the game 2-2 with a five on three power play goal.
For the second period, the Islanders out shot the Predators 17-12. The Corsi numbers also were in the Isles favor 27-19.
The Predators went on the power play early in the third period at 1:51 when Blake Comeau was called for crosschecking J.P. Dumont. With 17 seconds left in the man advantage Jesse Joensuu caught Ryan Jones in the face with a high stick to send a second Islander to the box.
After play had returned to five on four at 4:12, Erat found Sullivan in the right face off circle with a wide open shot that he blew past Biron for a power play goal to put the Preds ahead 3-2.
Ryan Suter was called for interference at 5:22 to put the Isles on the man advantage. The Islanders came close when they hit the crossbar but could not convert.
The Islanders put the Preds on the power play at 8:31 when they were called for too many men on the ice but were also unable to score on the man advantage.
Dumont was called for high sticking at 15:44 in another senseless infraction late in the third period. The Predators were fortunate to kill the penalty.
With the goalie pulled and 45.9 seconds remaining, Erat boarded Andrew MacDonald to give the Isles a 6-on-4 advantage for the remainder of regulation. With 11.1 seconds left Mark Streit sent a shot past a screened Rinne to tie the game 3-3 and sending the game to overtime.
The Isles outshot the Preds 9-5 in the third period and 25-8 on the Corsi numbers.
Neither team took many chances in the over time period as the Isles out shot the Preds 3-1.
Storylines From the Game
Lack of Discipline Cost the Preds…
For the second game in a row, the Predators took unnecessary penalties late in the game that cost them a victory. The Preds were lucky to escape the Isles power play when Dumont was called for high sticking with just over four minutes left.
After the penalty kill unit succeeded on the kill, the goalie was pulled and the Predators appeared out of sync. Erat’s boarding call was the icing on the cake and the Preds never regained composure in regulation.
Earlier in the game, successive penalties by Smithson and Weber led to a 5-on-3man advantage where the Predators penalty kill gave up an earlier goal. Seven penalties in the game is too many for the Preds penalty kill to withstand.
Islanders Wanted the Win More…
After the teams played evenly during the first period, the Islanders appeared to play harder and with more desperation. After losing seven games in a row, to play even with a Western Conference playoff contender gave them the confidence to push harder and be more aggressive down the stretch.
In the televised post game interview, Jason Arnott appeared somewhat satisfied with the road effort and the single point. Against a team that has been struggling, the Predators should have been going for the kill early but they did not.
Pekka Can’t Win By Himself…
I’m sure Pekka shook his head at times over the way he continually get’s left hung out to dry by the lack of defense in front of the net and the way opponents are allowed to stand unencumbered in front of his view of the ice.
All three Islander goals came on defensive break downs or a screen being allowed in front of the net. A goaltender only has so many stellar saves in him every game and needs help from the team in front of him so that he doesn’t have to be perfect on every shot attempt.
The Predators will head to Manhattan and face the Rangers on Wednesday night.