It wasn’t the New York Islanders’ best effort tonight, but Robin Lehner’s fantastic season continued in a 31-save effort that kept the St. Louis Blues off the board for the majority of the game. Jordan Eberle opened the scoring with his 200th NHL goal, the game was tied by David Perron in the third, and Valtteri Filppula scored the game-winner in overtime as the Islanders moved even on points with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and just three points behind the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Early in the game, Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist appeared to be injured after colliding with the linesman, an injury similar to what Tampa’s Victor Hedman dealt with in the Isles’ previous game. However, Sundqvist did later return to the game.
A Nick Leddy shot appeared to go in, but it was off the inside of the post instead. However, Jordan Eberle would make it 1-0 for real, scoring his 200th NHL goal on a backhand. The Blues challenged for goaltender interference, because Anders Lee arguably hit goaltender Jordan Binnington’s pads when pushed across the crease by Jay Bouwmeester. However, the call on the ice stood.
The only really dangerous chance for the Blues in this period was a Brayden Schenn shot off a 2 on 1 opportunity after a mistimed Johnny Boychuk pinch.
The Islanders had an opportunity to double their lead on a Robert Bortuzzo delay of game penalty, but the power play was completely ineffective tonight. They could barely get into the Blues’ zone, let alone sustain any offense, and ultimately wasted the opportunity. Scott Mayfield then took a penalty, but the penalty kill stood strong. Lee then took a penalty for closing his glove around the puck, and Robin Lehner was the team’s best penalty killer, making 7 saves on the power play, not including a Blues shot that hit the post.
This period was arguably the worst of the season for the Islanders, who managed to maintain their lead only because of the outstanding play of Lehner.
The third started up the same way as the second left off, but Cal Clutterbuck sprung Casey Cizikas for a breakaway. Cizikas had Binnington beat, but the puck rolled on him before he could get the forehand shot off. At the other end, Ryan O’Reilly drew Scott Mayfield out of position and passed the puck to David Perron, who beat Mathew Barzal to it and scored to tie the game.
The Islanders had a power play for approximately 10 seconds after Jay Bouwmeester went to the box, but then Nick Leddy took a slashing penalty after a Blues shorthanded breakaway, giving us some four on four hockey. A few minutes later, Jaden Schwartz was called for hooking, and the Isles had just over a minute of 6 on 5 time, though during that and the following power play, they failed to score, ending regulation tied 1-1.
The Islanders played a great 3 on 3 overtime period, with Nelson, Cizikas, and Leddy taking the first shift and getting some good zone time before Nelson got the puck to Barzal and his unit as they got on the ice. Barzal, Beauvillier, and Pulock were the next group on, and also kept the puck moving in the offensive zone before Barzal carried it out of the zone to allow his line to change. Barzal passed the puck up to Valtteri Filppula who shot it past Binnington, giving the Islanders the 2-1 win.
Next, the New York Islanders take on the New Jersey Devils at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday. The Devils have struggled this season with an 18-21-7 record after a surprising season that earned them a wild card spot last year, and the Islanders will need to bank two points against a Metro division rival.