The Blues had the game's only lead on a last-minute goal by Kevin Shattenkirk in the first period, but Mikhail Grabovski equalized on a highlight-reel goal early in the third period. After overtime solved nothing beyond providing entertaining and exhausting play by the game's best players, the Isles won in the breakaway drill for their second consecutive game.
The win makes the Isles 3-0 in December and on this three-game homestand, a nice boost for them to take to Ottawa where they face the Senators Saturday night.
The Blues had a little better of play in the first, putting Thomas Greiss to work like they did in these teams' first meeting (though not missing the net nearly as often as they did in St. Louis). But as they have done often this season, the Isles pushed back firmly in the second half of the game.
Late in the third, the two opposite-conference teams played for OT.
After each team missed on their first power play opportunities, the Blues opened scoring with an old momentum-punch goal with 27 seconds remaining in the period. It came on a knuckling shot by Kevin Shattenkirk after a nice catch-and-return with Vladimir Tarasenko at the blueline off a faceoff.
Despite the Isles' push, the second period was scoreless and saw just one penalty, David Backes called for whacking Ryan Strome. (Earlier, Backes took an "interference" penalty on a high reverse hit on Brock Nelson.
But with the Isles still probing well, they tied it 1-1 at 6:39 of the third. Grabovski converted on a fantastic individual play and rebound -- reaching behind him -- after a nearly-as-fantastic give-and-go with Ryan Strome that followed a pretty sweet breakout pass from Nikolay Kulemin.
Overtime was scoreless but quite eventful and back-and-forth. Among several notable moments, a Frans Nielsen 2-on-1 pass just hopped over Marek Zidlicky's stick for a tap-in, while Greiss had a great poke check on a Paul Stastny break-in.
Save for the fact it solved nothing and still subjected the "win/loss" verdict to a shootout, the 3-on-3 OT period was probably everything the NHL had in mind with its latest extra time gimmick. Each team probably had one legit cry for a penalty, but whatever: This is pond hockey.
In the shootout, Nielsen and Kyle Okposo each went five-hole on Brian Elliott -- starting for the first time in 17 days -- while Greiss stopped Shattenkirk and Vladimir Tarasenko to end it after two rounds.
They Said It
Via Isles PR, some quotes...
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is always good for a quote. He re-iterated his pre-game impression of the Islanders:
"I'm very impressed with their team, they got a hell of a hockey team. They're deep, four line deep, they have six D who can play, they got a handful for teams out west. We played some good hockey and still couldn't beat them right now."
Greiss on the shootout: 'Just do your thing.'
"You just do the same thing, some times its just luck with bounces here and there but you just have to do your thing."
And Jack Capuano on both of his goalies:
"You expect our goalies to give you a chance, and he's given us a chance. (Jaroslav Halak) played great, both our guys have given us a chance, there's no question and tonight he had some success. Last time he played in St. Louis and tonight as well so you got two guys who work extremely hard, (Halak and Greiss) are good friends. I've said that before and it's a good 1,2 punch that we have with (Halak) and (Greiss) right now."
Aside: Parayko Lives
After that scary tangle-and-topple over Ryan Strome's stick in the third period, I can't believe Colton Parayko still has a functioning knee and ankle. Wow. The come-from-nowhere rookie is having a great seasos and is one of those revelations who wasn't hyped in the draft but becomes an instant key player for his team; to see his season end like it look like it might've when his knee and ankle buckled under his own redwood height would have been a shame.
Great Play by The Grabovski
Grabovski's goal meant he got a star post-game interview, and he did not disappoint.
"Our fans is help us"-Grabo— Rookie Example (@KeithLHHockey) December 5, 2015
Love that guy. (And I must note, I barely know one language. Cool to see someone capture the spirit of the thing in, like, five.)
Keep Greiss In Christmas— Michael Leboff (@TheBigLeebowski) December 5, 2015
Always a 'Gamer'
Would you like to tie me up with some of your ties, Ty?