The New York Islanders carried the play for most of the game but had to settle for a 2-1 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild at the Nassau Coliseum Tuesday night. John Tavares scored the only goal for the Islanders while Zach Parise tallied for Minnesota. Parise was the only goal scorer for either team in the shootout.
The star of the game, however, was goalie Devan Dubnyk who continues to be the savior for the Wild. Dubnyk made 37 saves to keep his team in the game. It was the 33rd consecutive start for Dubnyk who has keyed the Wild’s strong second-half run to a playoff berth. He is 24-6-1 in 32 games for Minnesota.
“I thought we outplayed them,” Isles captain John Tavares said. “We were the better team tonight and it’s something we have to build on. Dubnyk was very good and he’s obviously playing with a lot of confidence.”
The game was played with a playoff-style intensity. The Islanders broke out of the gate flying and dominated the first period. They outshot the Wild 16-5 and took 35 shots at the Minnesota net while the visitors took just nine shots at the New York goal. Still, the period ended in a 0-0 deadlock, primarily because of the strong play of Dubnyk.
The Islanders finally broke the scoreless tie in the final minute of the second period on a goal by Tavares. He scored on a scramble in front of the Minnesota goal just as the Isles first power play of the game expired. It was not officially a power play goal, but it gave the Isles an edge after 4o minutes in a very close hockey game.
Kyle Okposo got the primary assist on the goal which gave him 300 points in his NHL career.
The Wild made their push in the third period and ended up outshooting the Isles 12-7 in the final 20 minutes. Parise tied the game at 11:45 of the third when he scored his 29th goal of the year off a pinpoint pass by Jason Pominville.
Both teams had excellent scoring chances, especially in overtime, but neither Halak, who finished with 31 saves for the Isles, nor Dubnyk, would give ground.
Parise was the only goal scorer in the shootout. Halak made the initial save but the puck bounced off him and just over the goal line. Dubnyk stopped Tavares who had the final opportunity to tie things up for the Isles to clinch the bonus point for the visitors.
“I thought we played hard and we were structured,” Isles coach Jack Capuano said after the game. “We had our chances but Dubnyk came up big for them.”
The Islanders continue their four-game home stand Thursday night when they host the Los Angeles Kings.
The Isles honored Pat LaFontaine before the game. He dropped the ceremonial first puck and received a warm ovation from the fans.
The Isles registered their 22nd sellout of the season.
Fans booed former Isles forward Thomas Vanek every time he touched the puck. Vanek had a chance to win the game for the Wild on a breakaway but was stopped by Halak.