The New York Islanders overcame a 2-0 deficit to force overtime, but in the end Patrick Sharp’s second goal of the game gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 victory and two points in the standings. Sharp finished with two goals and an assist while Marian Hossa scored once and set up two goals for the Hawks. Ray Emery made 31 saves to earn the win while Travis Hamonic and Steve Staios scored for the Islanders.
Despite the loss, Isles Coach Jack Capuano was pleased with his team’s refusal to give up. “It was a great effort,” Capuano said. “We played one of the better teams in the league and we showed in Chicago and here on Long Island that we can play with a good hockey team. I’m proud of the effort. It was 2-0 but we kept coming.”
The Isles fell behind 1-0 on Hossa’s power play goal at the 11:42 mark of the opening period. The line of Sharp, Patrick Kane and Hossa moved the puck well and set up Hossa for an open shot which deflected in off Isles goalie Al Montoya’s skate. It was the 400th goal of Hossa’s NHL career.
Sharp made it 2-0 Chicago at the 2:23 mark of the second period with a hard one-timer from the left circle. The Blackhawks were up 2-0 and for the first 30 minutes of the game more or less controlled possession of the puck and the pace of the game.
Slowly, the Islanders regrouped and began to gain some momentum. Hamonic scored on a hard blast from just inside the blue line with 1:39 left in the second period to make it 2-1.
The Isles had a great chance to tie the game when Kane and Dave Bolland were called for minor penalties four seconds apart with just over one minute left in the second period. The Isles had several chances on the 5-on-3 power play but could not get the equalizer.
“We had some looks, but we missed the net,” Capuano admitted when asked about the two-man advantage. “They [the Blackhawks] did a good a good job of getting in lanes, I give them credit.”
Staios did even the score at 10:52 of the third period on a screen shot from the point that beat Emery high over his shoulder. The Islanders continued to build momentum as the game went on but Emery kept them off the scoreboard and the teams headed for overtime.
In the extra session, it was Sharp who put home a rebound on a 2-on-1 breakaway to end the game just 1:34 into OT.
“Hossa made a good fake, it looked like he was going to pass but he faked it and threw it off my pad and Sharp was right there,” Montoya said. “A picture perfect goal.”
Overall, while disappointed with the loss, the Islanders realized this game was another well played effort. “”We’ve come a long way since three weeks ago,” forward P.A. Parenteau said. “We were desperate out there. We battled back from a two-goal deficit against one of the best teams in the league. We’ve got to be proud of that and build on that.”
The Islanders return to action Saturday night when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins who will once again be without Sidney Crosby. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks head back home for their next game Sunday night against the San Jose Sharks.
Kevin Poulin was recalled from Bridgeport and served as Montoya’s backup for the game. The Isles scratched Michael Haley and made Tim Wallace a non-emergency call-up. Michael Grabner returned to the Islanders line-up.
Matt Moulson assisted on Hamonic’s goal to increase his point scoring streak to six straight games. The Isles have also earned at least one point in their last six contests (4-0-2)