The Islanders, with coach Barry Trotz absent, played a textbook third period and overtime Saturday. They kept the NHL’s top-rated power play from getting on the ice all game and limited — yes, limited — the Oilers’ dangerous duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to two points and four shots.
But now the Islanders, finally playing consistent hockey, may have a long time to savor their latest win.
Twelve days, to be exact.
"It is what it is," Anders Lee said after his team’s 3-2 victory at UBS Arena on defenseman Noah Dobson’s first career overtime goal.
"You don’t have much control over that kind of thing. You try to get into a rhythm, you try to get things going. You’re starting to feel good and you string a couple together. But this is what’s presented to us. We can take this time to work on quite a few things, get some guys back, get healthy and really take on the rest of the year, hopefully without any interruptions. Look at it the best way we can."
The last-place Islanders (10-12-6) are 5-2-4 since Dec. 2 and finally won past regulation in their seventh try as Dobson’s wrister beat Mikko Koskinen (26 saves) at 3:52 of overtime.
Ilya Sorokin made 17 saves for the Islanders as they outshot the Oilers (18-12-2) by 16-2 after the second period.
The Islanders are not scheduled to play again until they host the Devils on Jan. 13. A four-game road trip to Seattle, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary, starting Tuesday and going through Jan. 11, was postponed on Friday because attendance has been limited in Canada because of the COVID-19 outbreak and the NHL opted not to send the Islanders cross-country to play just a lone game against the expansion Kraken.
The Islanders have had 10 games postponed since Nov. 28. If the NHL does not reschedule any games for early January, they will play only three games in 25 days.
The Islanders will have 107 days to play their final 54 games before the end of the NHL regular season on April 29.
"We’ll have a plan in place," said associate coach Lane Lambert, who ran the Islanders’ bench with Trotz missing the game because of non-COVID-19 personal reasons. "This is a real good opportunity for us. We’ve had guys in and out of the lineup, COVID or injuries. This is a chance for us to get healthy and to press forward because we know it’s going to be a real sprint to the end. It’s also going to be demanding with the number of games we’re going to have."
Second-line center Brock Nelson and defenseman Sebastian Aho remained in COVID-19 protocol, joined on Saturday by goalie coach Piero Greco and assistant coach John Gruden. Kyle Palmieri (injured reserve/lower body) missed his third game and defenseman Ryan Pulock (long-term injured reserve/lower body) missed his 16th.
Anthony Beauvillier, who missed the Islanders’ 4-1 win over the visiting Sabres on Thursday night while in COVID-19 protocol, tied it at 2 at 2:23 of the third period as he lifted a forehand shot at the left post. The Islanders outshot the Oilers 14-2 in the period.
The Oilers outskated the Islanders through their two-goal second period. Draisaitl — with his NHL-leading 25th goal in his 32nd game — tied it at 1 just 31 seconds in as he fed the crease from the left, with the puck deflecting in off Matt Martin’s skate.
That was Draisaitl’s only shot, and the Islanders’ lone penalty came as Kieffer Bellows was called for coincidental minors with defenseman Tyson Barrie at 8:42 of the third period.
That kept the Oilers’ 29-for-93 (31.2%) power play from getting a chance.
"That was definitely in the game plan, stay out of the box and stay disciplined," Beauvillier said. "I think we did a good job of staying on top of them and getting our forecheck going. A big win for us."
Defenseman Darnell Nurse gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead at 17:13 of the second period after McDavid, who leads the NHL with 53 points, created chances at the crease.
The Islanders took a 1-0 lead on Lee’s power-play goal at 16:40 of the first period.