Islanders rally from two-goal deficit to beat Sens, 5-4, in a shootout
OTTAWA - Don't panic, Islanders coach Jack Capuano told his team -- and his team's fans -- after Tuesday's loss to the Rangers.
The same could have been uttered after the Islanders fell behind by two goals twice against the Senators Friday night.
The Islanders didn't panic. They just kept shooting. Fifty-seven times in regulation plus overtime and three more in a shootout. One goal in the shootout was all it took.
When Frans Nielsen beat Robin Lehner in the third round of the shootout and Evgeni Nabokov stopped Bobby Ryan, the Islanders had a 5-4 victory at Canadian Tire Centre.
"I was proud of the way that we played tonight," Capuano said. "We came back from two-goal deficits. We kept battling. We stayed the course and they got rewarded for that."
The Islanders, who outshot Ottawa 57-31 but never led in regulation, came back from deficits of 2-0 and 4-2. They sent it to overtime with Nielsen's tying goal at 3:14 of the third period.
Thomas Vanek had a golden chance to win it in overtime but was stopped on a breakaway by Lehner. John Tavares was turned away by Lehner on the Islanders' next possession.
Nabokov had 27 saves for the Islanders. Lehner had 53 while giving Craig Anderson the night off.
"The other team, give them tons of credit," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "They played real well. They played with a lot of speed. They gave us lots that we couldn't handle."
The Islanders had two days to recover from and contemplate their 3-2 loss to the Rangers. They started Friday night with the same lines, backing up Capuano's "there's no time for panic or being overly critical" mantra from Wednesday.
It doesn't figure to get any easier Saturday night when the defending conference champion Boston Bruins visit the Coliseum. But there's no reason to panic about that. Not after Friday night.
The Senators took a 2-0 lead late in the first period on goals by Erik Condra and Mika Zibanejad.
The Islanders tied it with two goals in 28 seconds early in the second. After Vanek fed Tavares with a gorgeous backhanded cross-crease pass for the Islanders' first score, Matt Martin tipped home a shot from former Senator Matt Carkner at 9:07.
It was Vanek's first point as an Islander in two games since he was acquired Sunday from Buffalo.
But the Senators again took a two-goal lead. Ryan slid in behind Nabokov and was left alone to put in a rebound at 12:34. Then Clarke MacArthur scored on a wraparound at 14:47 to make it 4-2 after a video review.
But the Islanders kept putting the pressure on Lehner. Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored on a rebound at 18:24 to make it 4-3 and the Islanders ended the period and went into the third on a lengthy five-on-three.
The Senators snuffed it, but Nielsen tied the score at 4 with his eighth of the season at 3:14.
"We played the way that we knew how to play," Capuano said. "We need to be more consistent with that . . . The guys got in there. They got involved."