Brock Nelson scored the New York Islanders only goal in regulation and then notched the only successful conversion in a four-round shootout to lead his club to a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.
The loss ended Florida’s three-game winning streak and dropped its record in shootouts to 3-7.
After a scoreless first period that saw Jonathan Huberdeau catch iron and Evgenii Dadonov’s follow-up shot hit the cross bar and not go over the goal line at the buzzer, Nelson took a crossing pass from Michael Dal Colle and ripped a shot by Sam Montembeault 1:50 into the second. Adam Pelech made a nice play at the blue line to keep Dryden Hunt from clearing the zone and Josh Bailey quickly moved the puck to Dal Colle to get the secondary assist.
The Panthers would finally solve Thomas Greiss with a power-play goal with 7:15 remaining in the game. This time Huberdeau, who hit the post again a couple minutes earlier, would find the back of the net after taking a stretch pass from Keith Yandle and beating Greiss five-hole. Montembeault collected his first NHL point on Hubderdeau’s 29th goal and 90th point of the season. This is first time in franchise history the Cats have two 90-point scorers in the same season.
An exciting overtime saw Montembeault, who finished with a career-best 35 saves, stop four shots and Greiss turn away three, including a last second bid by Aleksander Barkov.
In the shootout, Greiss would go on to make saves on Huberdeau, Barkov, Frank Vatrano and Vincent Trocheck, while Montembeault would deny Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, and Josh Bailey before Nelson slipped a backhand between his pads to end it in the bottom of the fourth.
The Panthers took a tough loss in a what turned out to a great goaltending battle between Montembeault, who bounced back nicely after a few rough outings and helped his team capture a point, albeit a pretty meaningless one, and Griess, who finished with 29 stops in regulation and overtime. New York held on to second place (and home ice advantage) in the Metropolitan Division and held Barkov off the scoresheet, keeping him from establishing a new franchise record for points. That will have to wait for Saturday night’s season finale against the New Jersey Devils.
Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)