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New York Islanders 3, Ottawa Senators 2 (OT): Thomas Hickey wins it with OT zonal orbit

When Thomas Hickey goes on walkabout, the gods reward him.

Who had "Strome from Hickey and Strait at 4-on-4" in their pool?
Who had "Strome from Hickey and Strait at 4-on-4" in their pool?
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Thomas Hickey went for his second productive foray of the night behind the opposition goal to score the overtime winner in the New York Islanders' 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

It was a two-point night for Hickey (Brock Nelson also got his second point on the play) and a franchise record-tying 10th consecutive winning decision for Jaroslav Halak, who required only 16 saves.

The two teams meet again in two nights for a rematch in Ottawa.

[ Box | Game Sum | Event Sum | Fancy/Shifts: War-on-Ice - Natural Stat Trick - | Recaps: | Isles | NHL

Game Highlights

How It Went, or Thereabouts

Though the Islanders had another typically strong first period -- outshooting the Sens 9-5 -- it was the Senators who got on the board first. Mike Hoffman's hard shot from the blueline eluded Jaroslav Halak's glove at 10:04.

But the Islanders steadily got back into the smothering offensive form we've come to expect from them over the last month, with several stretches in the first two periods of sustained pressure as lines turned over. In another season, the night might've had the feel of tough luck; in this season, it felt like it was only a matter of time. Though they were far from fully on their game, the bar has been raised such that we seem them not dominate for multiple shifts in a row and we think something is wrong.

Goals, Eventually

The Kid Line was particularly effective, and orphaned members of that line were rewarded with both regulation goals.

The first one came in the middle of a line change, however, as Kyle Okposo turned at the right wing boards of the neutral zone to heave a pass for Brock Nelson. The puck caromed off a Senator's skate and sent an alert Nelson in for a partial breakaway, where he calmly beat Craig Anderson with a sharp but fading forehand shot.

The Isles finished the period nearly benefiting from a good break but for the cruel authoritative-yet-actually-arbitrary nuances of our clock-based world: Casey Cizikas' hail Mary shot from distance skipped over Anderson's glove and into the net ... just 0.1 ticks of the clock too late. Anywhere in the previous hour, had a whistle been sooner or a clockmaster been quicker -- just 0.1 seconds quicker, then enough time would have been left on the clock to give the Isles the lead. But a quick and obvious review said no: still 1-1 at the 2nd intermission.

It still felt like inevitability was in the Isles' favor when they took the lead just 1:07 into the third period, though they couldn't hold it.

Ryan Strome was the beneficiary -- and the battler -- for the go-ahead goal during a stretch of four-on-four. John Tavares made a nervy pass at the blueline to Brian Strait, who did well to beat his man outside and feed Thomas Hickey down low. Hickey's shot squibbed along the goal line behind Anderson, where Strome's stick awaited at the far post to nudge it over the line.

Ten minutes later, Clarke MacArthur tied it at 2-2 by putting the finishing touches on a pretty tic-tac-toe Senators passing play behind the Islanders goal. The Senators then had more of the play than is comfortable during the remaining 10 minutes or so.

Overtime: Hickey Walks Again

But Thomas Hickey did a very smart thing in overtime, and he was rewarded.

Seeing what his marker did not -- that the Isles forwards were changing as Hickey had the puck at the Senators blueline -- he spun away and used the empty space in the corner to go on walkabout while the replacement forwards came on. One forward already entering the zone, Mikhail Grabovski, created a distraction at the near post. As Hickey lapped all the way around the far side of the net, he passed hard across the crease, where the winning goal went in off Cody Ceci, the man covering Grabovski.

The Islanders remain undefeated in extra time, pick up their 13th regulation or overtime win, and move to 18-7 on Dec. 2, which is just...gosh, if you insist.


Both Travis Hamonic and Cal Clutterbuck left, returned, and left again late with injuries. Hamonic's may have been his shoulder. Team called them day-to-day.