MAPLE LEAFS 5 ISLANDERS 4 (OT) — Isles Comeback Falls Short in OT

Christian Arnold , Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y – The third period comeback got the Islanders a point, but just wasn’t enough to get them a win in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Islanders surrendered three unanswered goals in the second period, as the Leafs Nazem Kadri completed the hat trick late in the second period to put the Leafs up 4-2. But a good third period led by the unit of Bailey, Okposo and Nielsen helped the Islanders tie the game in the third.

Despite that, Dion Phaneuf pulled the plug on the Isles hopes of winning as he scored 1:11 into OT.

“I think we’ve had that happen a couple of times now and the teams just sticks with it and we keep grinding it out,” Josh Bailey, who scored his first goal of the season, said. “But on the flip side, we’d rather not put ourselves in those positions. I think it’s going to happen at times and it’s good to know when it does happen we can battle back and get out of it. But at the same time, when you’re up a couple goals you don’t want to let them get anything going.”

The Islanders started the game well, as they used the body to create chances. And it was on the their first shot of the game that they scored their first goal of the night from Bailey. Kadri countered at the 8:31 mark, with his first of three goals, to tie the game at one.

Lubomir Visnovsky gave the Islanders the lead back in the second on a blast from the point that clanged off the cross bar and went in. But the Leafs would quickly turn things around as they essentially outplayed the Islanders for the rest of the second period. Kadri danced around the Isles defense for his second of the game, James Van Riemsdyk found a way to beat Nabokov, and Kadri again tallied one to put his team up 4-2.

The Islanders finally found life again in the third, getting pucks deep and creating chances. It paid off 5:31 into the period as Andrew MacDonald scored from the far side and then Kyle Okposo scored on a partial breakaway to reignite the 9,000 plus that showed up to the Coliseum.

But in the end, the Leafs found a way to pull out the win.

“It felt good to get a point, but obviously we need two points right now,” Okposo said after the game. He had unquestionably his best game this season. Okposo looked hungrier and was one of the team’s hardest working players.

And he was rewarded for it, finishing the game with 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists).

“Yeah it’s definitely nice to that get one,” Okposo said after the game. “I haven’t scored in a while, and pulled the monkey off my back. But obviously I’d take the two points.”

The Islanders record at home moves to 2-8-1. Something that doesn’t sit well with Andrew MacDonald.

“We’re not a happy club in here when it coms to how this homestead is going and how our record is at home,” he said. “We’re pretty frustrated about it. We have to step up our game and do what ever it takes here.”

The Isles have two days before their next home game on Sunday against the Ottawa Senators.

“I think not too many,” Bailey said referring to any adjustments needing to be made. “I think we obviously just want to come out and have a strong 60 minutes. I mean it’s pretty cliché, and we keep saying it over and over again. But I think if we can put together a full 60, the way we played most of the game tonight, I think we’ll be in good shape.”

Christian Arnold, who has written for the New York Hockey Journal and Islanders Hockey Blog, will be contributing stories throughout the season. You can follow him on Twitter @CA_NYHockey.