Kevin SchultzIt’s been happening a lot lately and it happened again on Monday afternoon at the Coliseum; the Islanders trailed by two goals heading into the third but managed to complete a comeback to force overtime. They would win in the shootout, completing their fifth comeback win in the last eight games.
First star of the afternoon should probably go to Kyle Okposo, who pulled off the Gordie Howe hat trick. Okposo got into a fight with Braydon Coburn in the first period. The American seemed to take special offense to a slash from Coburn, maybe something that carried over from Saturday night as well. In the second, he would assist on the Isles first goal and in the third, as has been the case many times this year, Okposo would be instrumental in the Islanders comeback. He would score the game-tying goal on the power play with about three minutes to go, sending the game to the extra session. All that continues a stellar year for the American, with 20 goals and 49 points in 50 games. That’s only three off a career high in points and four off a career high in goals.
A three-goal second for Philadelphia looked like it would sink the Isles. Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds scored for Philly in between a John Tavares power play goal, and Read would add another before the close of the period. The Isles did lead in shots at the end of the second, 25-23 and by a narrow 31-28 margin in unblocked shot attempts (fenwicks).
The third period, much like Saturday night, was a completely different game. Except this time, the Islanders dominated much of the play (illustrated below).
The Islanders dominated the third period, leading in unblocked shot attempts 22-5 in the final frame and found two goals to tie up the game. Brock Nelson — who continues to play exceptionally well at the NHL level — got them to within one with his eighth of the year and Okposo would tie the game nearly ten minutes later.
In the shootout, it would be Frans Nielsen and John Tavares scoring to put the win on (who else’s?) Okposo’s stick to finish the game.
Anders Nilsson stopped 26 of 29 in net for his first NHL win since March 4, 2012.
Next up is a date at the Garden with the Rangers tomorrow night. Expected snow fall is 4-10 inches depending on the accuracy of Point Blank’s weather predicting technology and your locale around the region.