KANATA, Ont. -- Mark Eaton
made his 600th NHL game one to remember.
Eaton, a defensive defenseman if ever there was one, scored his first goal in 121 games at 2:35 of overtime to give the New York Islanders
a 2-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators
at Scotiabank Place on Friday night.
The 34-year-old took a pass from fellow defenseman Milan Jurcina
in the lower right circle, spun and swept a backhander behind Craig Anderson
for his first regular-season goal since Nov. 28, 2009, when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"Juice made a great play to me, and I found a way to put it in the net," Eaton said after scoring his 24th career goal. It was his first as an Islander, and he couldn’t recall the last time he scored such a significant goal.
"The playoffs, maybe? Playoffs are always memorable goals. Anytime you can score in overtime, those are big too and it’s something I’ll remember," said Eaton, who won a Stanley Cup ring with the 2009 Penguins, scoring four goals in the process.
For the Islanders, who've been desperate for secondary scoring all season, Eaton's goal was a gift from heaven.
"It’s nice to see a guy like Mark score," No. 1 center John Tavares
said. "He has done a lot of great things for us this year; the little things that don’t always get a lot of press."
also scored and PA Parenteau
assisted on both goals for the Islanders, who got 23 saves from Evgeni Nabokov
. Zack Smith
had the lone goal for the Sens.
Parenteau, who has five points in three games, insists that nothing is out of the Islanders’ reach -- they've won five of seven, though they are still nine points out of a playoff berth.
"We didn’t give them much. They had their moment in the second period, they played strong but Nabby played a good game and we played a strong road game," he said.
"We’re a confident bunch right now. We play with a lot of passion and we know what’s at stake in the next two weeks. Nothing’s impossible for us. The group of guys we have like Johnny (Tavares) … but a lot of guys are playing well. It’s only nine points and there’s a lot of games left."
Anderson made 30 saves for the Senators, but he and his team will take a five-game losing streak into Saturday night's home game against Toronto.
"We’ll get out and get back on the horse again. We’ve got games coming up and we have to be ready and focused. We have to put this one behind us," Anderson said.
The first period was scoreless, though the Islanders had the better of play and outshot Ottawa 14-8. They also had an excellent chance midway through the second when Tavares sent linemate Matt Moulson
in alone, but Anderson took his backhander in the chest.
Smith got the Senators on the board by scoring shorthanded with only 12.6 seconds left in the middle period on a shot Nabokov undoubtedly wanted back. With Matt Carkner
in the penalty box for boarding, Smith skated down the right wing, and fired a high wrister that went off the goaltender's glove and into the top corner. It was Smith’s first goal in 13 games and his second shorthanded goal this season.
It was a rough night for New York's power play, which came into the game tops in the NHL on the road. The Isles went 0-for-2, managed just two shots and allowed Smith's shorthanded goal.
Martin ended an 11-game goal drought and tied the game at 5:27 of the third. Parenteau carried into the Ottawa zone and pulled up along the left boards, drawing three Senators to him. Martin caught the Senators in a line change, raced into the zone and took a saucer pass from Parenteau before beating Anderson with a perfect high wrister past the goaltender's blocker.
The goal by Smith could have been a deflating, but instead, the Islanders regrouped for a strong third period.
"After the second period, we talked about it and it was a tough goal to give up," coach Jack Capuano said. "We didn’t get down after the second period. We came out in the third and played a pretty good hockey game."
For the Senators, who are sixth in the East, getting just one point wasn't enough. Coach Paul MacLean said the power play, in particular, has to improve.
"Their system was to slow the game down and stall it, and I thought they did a good job of that," MacLean said. "I think the power play sucked the life out of us. Instead of giving us opportunity and momentum, it ends leading to overtime, and stuff happens in overtime. Our power play needs to be a little bit more dangerous."