Islanders beat Ottawa for 4 straight wins
OTTAWA - The Islanders have been in the headlines plenty the past week.
For their fight-filled match against the Penguins on Friday night.
For the suspensions that followed.
And for the griping from both sides about the league's handling of the punishments.
Easily lost is that the Islanders have now rattled off a season-high four straight wins after last night's 4-3 shootout victory over the Senators.
Nathan Lawson stopped two of three shots in the shootout and Rob Schremp and Frans Nielsen scored for the Islanders to give Lawson his first NHL victory.
In the past three games, the Islanders have scored 19 goals, four more than they scored the whole month of November.
"It's big. Every game means a lot to us. It's nice when you get out of a tough game like this with a win," said Michael Grabner, who scored his 25th goal of the season.
The red-hot streak of Grabner, who picked up a goal and an assist, has played a big part in that run. Grabner scored in his sixth straight game to erase a one-goal deficit and Josh Bailey ended a lengthy drought to give the Islanders the lead in the third period.
With the Senators down two defensemen in the third - both Sergei Gonchar and former Islanders defenseman Chris Campoli suffered lower-body injuries - Grabner notched the equalizer shorthanded at 2:48.
After losing control of the puck on a breakaway, Grabner got it back and buried a wraparound shot to tie the game at 2.
Grabner, who has eight goals in the past four games, assisted on Bailey's go-ahead goal at 6:39. It was Bailey's first goal in 22 games.
"I don't know what to say. I've never seen a guy this hot," Nielsen said. "I'm so happy for him. He competes so hard every night and he's getting the results."
The Senators tied the game at 3 on Erik Karlsson's slap shot from the right circle at 15:56. After Schremp went top shelf on Brian Elliott in the shootout, Nielsen abandoned his trusty backhander and went forehand instead.
"I think he knows he has to do that," coach Jack Capuano said, smiling.
Said Nielsen: "I saw Schrempy's shot from a great angle when I was out there and [Elliott] left a big hole there between his legs. I just tried to just catch him standing."
The Islanders lost versatile defenseman Andrew MacDonald for most of the first period. MacDonald and Chris Kelly collided and MacDonald skated off with help from teammates while holding a towel to his face. He returned to the game wearing a full shield that belonged to fellow defenseman Bruno Gervais. Gervais was scratched.
After falling to Phoenix in a shootout in his NHL debut Dec. 18, Lawson stopped Jason Spezza and Butler in his first game back from knee injury last month.
"It was an awesome win for the boys," Lawson said.