UNIONDALE, N.Y. (Nov. 12, 2013) – The New York Islanders took a deep breath Tuesday evening, and gasped out a huge sigh of relief, as they stopped a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.
Though the first several minutes of the opening period were uneventful, a fight between Matt Martin and Rich Clune at the halfway point turned the tide. It eventually led to a pair of Isles’ goals in the last four-and-change, one of which occurred on the power play.
The first came courtesy of the New York captain, John Tavares. Off a Preds’ giveaway in the defensive zone, Frans Nielsen hit a wide-open Tavares that went in all alone on Nashville goalie Marek Mazarec. Tavares subsequently finished like the pure goal-scorer that he is to give New York a 1-0 edge.
Less than two minutes after that, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, from the goal line extended, found the short side against Mazarec to make it 2-0. Bouchard’s try squeaked in between the left post, and Mazarec’s left pad. Nielsen was credited with the lone assist on that tally as well.
“The puck was lying right behind me,” Nielsen commented. “It was a great goal for us.”
During the second period, the Islanders overcame another slow start, but added a bit more comfort to their lead. With 12:53 left, Kyle Okposo slapped a shot from the left circle that found the inside of the left post to extend the New York advantage to 3-0. The marker was his sixth of the year.
Meanwhile, Nashville continued to struggle, extending its scoreless streak to eight periods. The Preds had a bit of hope though, as they earned their first power play at the 9:25 mark off a rough by Casey Cizikas. However, the visitors mustered just two shots, and allowed a short-handed two-on-one.
The Islanders, who were outshot by the opposition 11-9 in the stanza, would still head into the break ahead by three.
In the last 20-minute session, Nashville got on the scoreboard, but it was too little too late. With 5:30 remaining, Patric Hornqvist beat Kevin Poulin for his fifth tally of the season.
For the contest, both squads attempted 33 shots apiece. The Preds sported a 20-15 edge in hits, and won 38 faceoffs to the Islanders’ 22. Meanwhile, New York had 11 takeaways to Nashville’s nine.
“I am definitely happy to get the two points tonight,” stated Tavares. “We need to keep generating opportunities, and have everything clicking.”
The Isles continue their three-game homestand Thursday (Nov. 14) against Jonathan Quick and the Western Conference powerhouse Los Angeles Kings. The puck drops from the Coliseum at 7 p.m.