OTTAWA, Ontario - Less than nine months ago, John Tavares had a gold medal draped around his neck after helping Canada to its fifth consecutive World Junior Hockey championship at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.
His return to the arena where he earned tournament MVP honors had all the drama but not the same result last night as the Islanders dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Senators in Tavares' first trip back to his home province of Ontario.
"Another tough one for us. We battled back, played a hard game and we got a good point, but we're not satisfied with that," said Tavares, who picked up a third-period assist. "It's a disappointing way to lose, but we showed a lot of character coming back."
The Senators took a 1-0 lead on Peter Regin's goal at 7:25 of the first period after Chris Neil made a crisp feed from the right circle to find Regin in front of the crease, but after the goal was scored, Biron and captain Doug Weight pointed upward and attempted to reason with officials that the puck had landed in the protective netting and that no whistle was blown to stop the play.
Senators defenseman Matt Carkner made it 2-0 with his first NHL goal, throwing the puck toward the net from behind the goal line and banking it in off Biron's stick at 13:12 of the second period.
"Sometimes the bounces go your way, sometimes they go the other way," said Biron, who made 25 saves in his first start of the season. "But that's hockey."
Still determined to put a damper on the Senators' home opener, the Islanders mounted a comeback.
Okposo made a phenomenal move in front of the net as he blew past a Senators defenseman and carried the puck across the crease before slamming it home at 17:56 of the second period to make it 2-1.
The Islanders tied the score at 5:29 of the third on a power- play goal by Matt Moulson. The home crowd was furious at the officials for what they felt was a questionable interference call on defenseman Erik Karlsson that yielded the power play.
Weight made a nifty feed from behind the goal line to Moulson, who buried the puck for his first goal. Tavares was given a second assist on the goal.
That same angry crowd erupted into cheers in overtime. The Islanders couldn't control a faceoff in the Senators' end and Fisher raced through the neutral zone and slipped one past Biron's glove to put a sudden end to an evenly played game.
So in their two games, the Islanders have lost in a shootout and lost in OT.
"We want more. We know we can play better and we know we can finish those games off. It still gives us a bad taste," Biron said. "Guys in here didn't get used to losing last year. Guys in here like to win."