Mathew Barzal certainly played like an All-Star on Thursday night. Devon Toews showed why he might be one in the future.
The rookie defenseman scored his first NHL goal at 1:48 of overtime as the Islanders beat the Blackhawks, 3-2, at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum before a crowd of 13,454, which was just shy of a fourth straight sellout at the venerable barn.
“Toews has been a big piece the last five, six games,” said Barzal, who scored twice to extend his point streak to six games (eight goals, three assists) a day after being named to his first NHL All-Star Game. “He’s added another weapon back there.”
Toews connected from the right for his first NHL point in his fifth game since being recalled from Bridgeport.
“I feel really good,” said Toews, a fourth-round pick in 2014 who was limited to 30 games for Bridgeport last season because of a shoulder injury. “It’s a learning experience throughout the game.”
Toews took six shots in 16:16 and earned coach Barry Trotz’s trust to be used in the three-on-three overtime.
“It’s pretty special to get your first NHL goal in overtime,” Trotz said.
The Islanders (22-13-4) matched their season high with their fifth straight win and have won eight of their last nine. Their last six-game winning streak came at the end of the 2016-17 season.
Robin Lehner made 19 saves in winning his sixth straight decision and has allowed 10 goals in his last nine appearances. Collin Delia stopped 47 shots for the Blackhawks.
Barzal had a game-high eight shots in 20:16 and drew both of the penalties Chicago took. He has scored seven of the Islanders’ last 13 goals.
“I thought Mat was really good,” Trotz said. “He managed the puck really well. He challenged the seams and was taking the ice that was presented. I thought he played a pretty complete game.”
Said Barzal, “Confidence comes from working hard and doing the extra stuff.”
Trotz warned his team before the game that the Blackhawks presented a potential “trap game.” The franchise that won three Stanley Cups from 2010 to 2015 entered the night tied for the third-fewest points in the NHL, although Chicago was 6-3-1 in its previous 10 games.
The Islanders were coming off Saturday’s emotional 4-0 win in Toronto in their first game against former captain John Tavares and Monday’s 3-1 win in Buffalo, as Lehner faced his former team for the first time since signing with the Islanders.
Patrick Kane tied the score at 2 with a power-play goal from the right at 5:01 of the third period. The Blackhawks were outshot 18-3 in the period.
The Islanders built a 14-3 shot advantage in the first period and took the game’s first five shots, but Chicago took a 1-0 lead at 3:05. Dominik Kahun, to Lehner’s left, backhanded in the rebound of Brandon Saad’s deflection.
Barzal tied the score at 1 at 6:47 of the first period with his own rebound goal. He swatted the puck out of the air from low in the left circle after Delia stopped Anthony Beauvillier.
Barzal’s power-play goal at 18:56 of the second period — he had drawn a holding penalty on Gustav Forsling at 18:35 — gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead. He connected from below the left circle after defenseman Nick Leddy had his initial shot partially blocked.
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