Okposo gets shootout goal to lift Islanders over Hurricanes
NEW YORK (AP) The New York Islanders are grinding out wins at the most important time of the year.
Kyle Okposo scored the only goal of the shootout, and the Islanders rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
Thomas Greiss made 26 saves and Anders Lee scored his 13th goal of the season for New York, which won for the third time in four games. Greiss snapped a personal four-game losing streak, and he's just 2-5-1 since Jaroslav Halak went down with a lower-body injury.
''I got the monkey off my back,'' Greiss said. ''I hope we can keep it going now.''
The victory was New York's second straight in extra time and second straight when trailing after two periods. The Isles kept pace with the Pittsburgh Penguins, remaining three points back of them and four back of the idle New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division standings. The Islanders face the Penguins on Saturday and then face their crosstown rivals next Thursday. They have a game in hand on the Rangers.
''We really had to battle for it,'' Islanders center Frans Nielsen said. ''It was tough. It would've been a tough loss, but I liked the way we never panicked.''
Derek Ryan put the Hurricanes ahead 1-0 late in the second period but hit the post on his shootout attempt in Carolina's NHL-high 16th loss after regulation. The Hurricanes have points in four straight games (2-0-2).
''It's always frustrating when you lose,'' Ryan said. ''We got in trouble in the third. Credit to them, they kept coming.''
Cam Ward had 30 saves for Carolina.
Ward made 13 stops during the third period and overtime. He stymied strong chances from Nick Leddy and Shane Prince early in the third and John Tavares in overtime. Ward also stopped two shots during an early third-period power play, and Elias Lindholm added two blocked shots during that kill.
After a pair of sleepy periods, the Islanders awoke in the third and pulled even at 12:08 on their second power play of the period. Brent Pesce was charged with goalie interference, and then Lee redirected Tavares' snap shot past Ward. Lee's goal was his first since March 8.
''We skated and got more pucks to the net,'' Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. ''We knew that it was coming. It was going to be greasy. Against that goaltender, you're going to have to get to the paint, and it's going to be one of those goals, and it was: it was a shot and a deflection.''
After he was called up from Charlotte of the American Hockey League earlier Tuesday, Ryan netted his second goal in four career NHL games. Linemate Nathan Gerbe forced a turnover by Islanders forward Josh Bailey, and Ryan picked up the puck, went around Bailey and snapped a wrist shot past Greiss.
''Kind of a broken play,'' Ryan said. ''It came to me, I took it wide, just tried to get around the defenseman.''
Both of Ryan's goals have come against New York-metro area competition - his first big-league score came March 1 against the Devils in New Jersey.
Shortly after the goal, Cal Clutterbuck - who scored two goals in the Islanders' overtime win Saturday night in Carolina - came in on a break, but Ward shut him down with his glove.
''He was excellent,'' Carolina coach Bill Peters said of Ward. ''The only one who beat him was a screened shot.''
There were only 13 shots combined in the first period. Carolina had the best of the early opportunities, but Greiss held the Hurricanes off the board. His best stop in that stretch came on Jeff Skinner's breakaway late in the frame.
''Thomas has been solid for us all year,'' Lee said. ''No surprise with his great play.''
NOTES: The Islanders honored longtime television commentator Stan Fischler for 40 years with the team. ... Nielsen played in his 600th NHL game. ... Ryan replaced Ryan Murphy in Carolina's lineup. Andrej Nestrasil, Riley Nash and Phillip Di Giuseppe joined Murphy as Carolina scratches. ... The Islanders penalty kill was 1 for 1 and has now killed off 13 straight man-advantages.