UNIONDALE, N.Y. (Oct. 17, 2013) – In Las Vegas, the house claims most of its profits from the slots. On Thursday, that was the area of the ice where the New York Islanders made most of their money shots count in a come-from-behind 3-2 triumph versus the Edmonton Oilers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. The win in regulation was the first for the Isles since last Tuesday.
“That is the way we want to play,” stated Kyle Okposo about their chances in the slot. “We had a lot of good opportunities tonight.”
Head Coach Jack Capuano added: “I think we exploited it (the slot) more tonight, but that is how most teams played in this league…Our offensive zone play was really good.”
The Oilers, however, came out of the gate strong. Ales Hemsky missed an open net off a wraparound, while Taylor Hall was unable to get off a quality shot on a breakaway just a short while after.
New York would capitalize on Edmonton’s failed opportunities just 5:01 in, when Bailey snapped one past Devan Dubnyk from in front, giving the Isles an early 1-0 lead. The play originated off a Travis Hamonic takeaway from Anton Belov behind the cage.
The Oilers responded furiously though, as Hall netted a pair of markers in an eight-second stint. That gave the visitors a 2-1 edge, which they took into the opening intermission. His first tally came via a cross-ice pass from Justin Schultz. The other occurred off a put-back on a rebound.
“The first time, a weak-side defender got beat,” said Capuano about Hall’s first goal. “Our guys can’t take a shift off like that…But, we managed to respond real well.”
And answer the Islanders did. Only 4:54 into the second period, Okposo finished on a tic-tac-toe goal with Matt Moulson and John Tavares to even the score at 2-apiece. The tally also came on the man-advantage. Luke Gazdic was sent off for tripping Pierre-Marc Bouchard at the 3:51 mark.
Minutes later, the hosts killed off three key minors during a seven-minute spurt to keep things tied.
“We can’t be taking those calls,” Isles’ defenseman Travis Hamonic stated. “Those things will happen from time-to-time, but we didn’t give them too much. Our PK had a lot of confidence tonight.”
For their hard-working efforts, the Islanders were rewarded with 1:07 remaining. From the goal line extended, Okposo hit Tavares in the slot, and the New York captain subsequently fired a shot over Dubnyk’s glove for the go-ahead score.
During the final 20-minute session, the Oilers managed to kill off an early delay of game call, but were overwhelmed by the Isles’ defense. The back line for the blue and orange held the opposition to eight shots in the third period, and no goals, to help clinch the victory.
“The guys deserved the game,” Capuano commented. “The only time we gave them (the Oilers) life was on those three power plays…We need to keep playing like this to have success.”
The Islanders continue their four-game homestand Saturday (Oct. 19) against their new division rivals, the Carolina Hurricanes. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“This homestand means a lot to us,” Hamonic said. “We let Buffalo slip away, and tonight we made the most of our opportunities.”