Any New York Islanders coaches and players who spent Thursday night watching their next opponent saw something very familiar — a win generated by a third-period comeback.
The Nashville Predators will look to complete a successful back-to-back road set Friday night when they oppose the Islanders in Elmont, N.Y.
The Predators opened a three-game road trip against Eastern Conference foes in dramatic fashion Thursday night, when Mikael Granlund scored the tying goal with 10 seconds left in regulation and Ryan Johansen scored 33 seconds into overtime to lift Nashville to a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils.
The Islanders haven’t played since Tuesday, when their four-game winning streak was snapped with a 3-1 loss to the host Philadelphia Flyers.
The Predators looked as if they would be the latest team victimized by the Devils, who entered Thursday with 16 wins in their past 17 games and overcame a 2-0 first period deficit by scoring three times in less than three minutes early in the second.
But the Predators killed off a power play generated with 2:46 left when they were whistled for too many men on the ice, then forced overtime with a six-on-five goal after pulling netminder Juuse Saros.
In OT, Devils goalie Vitek Vanecek had trouble possessing the puck before trying to send a clearing pass off the boards. Matt Duchene outlasted a trio of New Jersey players for the puck and backhanded a pass to Johansen, who went to one knee and fired a shot beyond Vanecek’s stick at the 33-second mark.
“That was huge for us,” said Johansen, who opened the scoring just 11 seconds into the first period. “We could have easily walked out with no points, but we made a couple of big plays and had a great result.”
It was the Predators’ third victory of the season keyed by a third-period comeback. Nashville overcame a two-goal deficit in the last 20 minutes to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in a shootout on Nov. 5, and the Predators escaped a one-goal hole in the final period of a 4-3 shootout victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Nov. 21.
The usual third-period magic was nowhere to be found Tuesday for New York, which has won four games this season in which it trailed after two periods.
Against the Flyers, the Islanders were outshot 12-7 in the final period despite pulling goalie Ilya Sorokin with about two minutes left. They didn’t muster a serious threat during a six-on-five advantage before Kevin Hayes iced the win for the Flyers with an empty-netter.
“A tough game, really,” Islanders left winger Matt Martin said. “Not a lot of flow to it. (The Flyers) played hard and played well, and we’ve got to be better at the end of the day.”
The defeat capped a challenging night for the Islanders, who lost center Josh Bailey to an upper-body injury in warmups and right winger Cal Clutterbuck to an upper-body injury in the first period. Both are listed as day-to-day.
In addition, New York right winger Kyle Palmieri missed his fourth straight game on Tuesday due to an upper-body injury and was placed on short-term injured reserve on Thursday.
–Field Level Media