With the stubborn sound of puck striking iron still ringing in his ears, Blake Comeau seized his opportunity to silence the noise.
With the game tied at 3 and less than a minute to play in overtime, Comeau directed Radek Martinek’s searing slapshot past goaltender James Reimer for a 4-3 overtime win over the Leafs at Nassau Coliseum.
Robbed by the post twice earlier in the game, Comeau extended his stick, got a piece of the puck and deftly tipped it in for his 19th of the season at 4:02.
“We had some really good chances all night,” Comeau said. “[Martinek] shot it and I was lucky enough to get my stick on it.”
Comeau’s winner effectively halted an impressive comeback effort by the Leafs, who erased three different one-goal leads to push the game into overtime.
“The Leafs did a good job bouncing back after we took leads on them,” said Josh Bailey, who picked up an assist on Michael Grabner’s 3rd-period goal, “but we stayed with it, didn’t get rattled, and it paid off.”
Comeau wasn’t the only player to hit a goalpost. The Islanders hit five overall—Matt Moulson, Kyle Okposo and Bailey all hit one apiece.
“Sometimes it’s like that,” Martinek said. “You get great scoring chances and you hit the post, hit the goalie, or miss the net. And then sometimes, it’s just a little tip and it’s in.”
Setting up the game-winning goal, Martinek earned a primary assist in his first game back after missing seven games with a lower body injury.
“We’re definitely a better team with him in the lineup,” said Frans Nielsen, who finished with a goal and an assist.
Martinek immediately gestured to Comeau to indicate the deciding goal was his, putting him one goal from the 20-goal plateau.
“I knew right away,” Martinek said. “I saw him tip it. I just tried to shoot high and [Comeau] tipped it in the corner.”
The 34-year-old veteran defenseman, who received 21:07 of ice time, got the first shot on Reimer in overtime. The hard drive appeared to injure Reimer’s left hand, but he remained in the crease.
The 10th-place Leafs knotted the game at 3 midway through the third to inch a point closer to a playoff spot.
With the game tied at 2, Michael Grabner scored a go-ahead goal at 8:40.
The 23-year-old rookie tee’d up the puck off his skate to score his 27th goal of the season, one shy of team leader Moulson, who has 28.
But just like they did two times prior , the Leafs pulled even for a third time. Nikolai Kulemin answered Grabner's goal 68 seconds later, shoving the puck between the pads of goaltender Al Montoya at 9:48.
Losers of 22 one-goal games this season, the Islanders were determined not to make it 23.
Comeau now has four goals in the past four games and career highs in goals (19) and points (40). Grabner leads all rookies with 27 goals.
Zenon Konopka also scored for the Islanders, chipping in his second of the season with a second-period deflection for a 1-0 lead.
“They are a very different team than they were before Christmas,” Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said. “They’ve played very well. Tonight they played well and we didn’t so give them credit.”
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