DALLAS - The night started off strangely, with new Islanders addition Tyler Kennedy a late scratch because of an upper-body injury and Matt Martin ejected just 1:48 in for a knee-on-leg hit to the Stars' Trevor Daley.
It ended pretty strangely, too. The game goes down as a 3-2 overtime loss for the Isles on Cody Eakin's goal 2:18 into OT, but the Islanders got a good break to even earn a point when Anders Lee's desperation fling caromed off Jordie Benn's skate and into the Stars' net with 1.1 seconds to play. "We did earn it," Johnny Boychuk said. "We battled the whole game, battled on the PK and we got rewarded with a nice bounce."
The Islanders killed off the major penalty to Martin early in the first, then three more minors through the end of the second period. It was their best penalty-killing game in several weeks, but the 1-0 lead the Isles held after two periods on Josh Bailey's 13th late in the first felt a bit more precarious with all the time spent down a man.
"We used a lot of energy defending and killing those off," John Tavares said. "I think they gained some momentum off that."
Brett Ritchie beat Jaroslav Halak on a rebound 2:24 into the third to tie the score and Vernon Fiddler benefited from a good Stars bounce to give Dallas the lead at 7:28. Ryan Garbutt's shot went high and wide but caromed off the end boards out front to Fiddler, who beat Halak.
Ryan Strome's eventful few minutes began with a slashing penalty in the Stars' zone with 3:22 to go in the third, a retaliatory penalty that seemed embellished by Dallas defenseman Jason Demers. The Isles pressed for the tie with their net empty and it was Strome's speed rush into the offensive zone with 10 seconds left that led to Lee's blind throw.
"I saw Johnny at the back door and I don't even really know what happened," Lee said.
After Thomas Hickey cranked one off the post in OT, the Isles were pressing again when Strome tried to make a play under pressure at the Dallas blue line. The Stars forced a turnover, went down two-on- one and Eakin finished it off, tempering the Isles' good feelings at grabbing a point seemingly out of thin air.
"It's not a very good play," Jack Capuano said of Strome's attempt to do something under duress in OT. "He took an offensive-zone penalty with three minutes left that could have cost us . . . He's young, he'll learn from it. You almost want your young guys to go through this so they learn."
Kennedy was raring to go after the morning skate but an exam closer to game time revealed the injury and the Islanders had to adjust. They had to adjust further when Martin was tossed so early, then kill off nearly 12 minutes of power play time during the game.
"We're not satisfied with the point," said Boychuk, who sweated through half a dozen shirts and socks in the humid arena. "But we'll take it."
Notes & quotes:Capuano did not think Martin would face further discipline. "From my view he was planted, there wasn't intent," Capuano said. "[Martin's] an honest guy, I think people know that." Daley did not return to the game . . . Halak made 32 saves . . . The Islanders' penalty kill moved to 75.1 percent efficiency and out of last place in the league rankings, ahead of the Sabres.