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Game Recap: Islanders 2, Predators 1 (OT)

Thomas Hickey keeps the Isles playoff hopes alive with OT winner

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders

Hickey's game-winning OT goal

NYI@NSH: Hickey beats Rinne with wrister for OT win

Thomas Hickey knocks the puck down out of the air and fires a wrister past the blocker of Pekka Rinne to give the Islanders a 2-1 overtime win

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Thomas Hickey kept the New York Islanders' playoff hopes alive on Tuesday night. 

Hickey, who has a knack for scoring overtime winners, added another big OT goal to his clutch resume, scoring the deciding goal in a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators. 

"We just talked about a period at a time, our season is on the line and trying to stick with it," Hickey said. "We were up to the challenge. We played really hard, Jaro was excellent and period by period and a chance to win it in OT. It was an important point." 

Hickey, who was playing left wing in wake of a rash of injuries to the Isles' forwards, settled down a drop pass from Josh Bailey in the Predators' zone and beat Pekka Rinne with a low wrister for the winning goal. 

Tweet from @NYIslanders: Everyone wants a piece of the OT hero #Isles pic.twitter.com/1pwbiCgfNu

"It's nothing I'll be telling my grandkids about," Hickey joked. "You see enough guys score those ugly ones. I'd have to see it again. I'm sure it went off something, I'm not beating a goalie like that from the top of the circles, but that's all part of it. You get some bad luck through a season and it's nice when you get the good bounces, too."

The Islanders season was officially on the line with 11 minutes to go in the third period, as Boston and Ottawa both won their respective games. A loss - even in OT - would have eliminated the Islanders, but even with the win, there's still a hill to climb. The Islanders (88 points) are five points back of the Toronto Maple Leafs (93 points) for the second Wild Card with three games to play. They have no margin for error, but will at least live to fight another day. 

"We just have to take it one game at a time right now," said Jaroslav Halak, who made 22 saves in the win and was credited with the second assist on Hickey's goal. 

Halak was a key to the Islanders' win, keeping the game close through two periods and stopping all seven shots in the third period. Brock Nelson was the other key, scoring the tying goal 1:32 into the third period, injecting life and hope into the Islanders. 

Video: NYI@NSH: Nelson picks the corner with a sweet wrister

Prior to the third, Mike Fisher was the game's only goal scorer, burying a cross-ice pass from Colin Wilson 7:03 into the second period. The Islanders regrouped between periods and came out in the third with some jump. Nelson capitalized on the momentum skated in one-on-three before beating Rinne high glove side to tie the score 1-1. 

The Islanders survived a pair of close calls, as a loose puck sat next to Jaroslav Halak in the crease while the goalie thought he had it in his gear, but Ryan Ellis couldn't convert. Shortly after, a puck snuck through Halak, but hit the post.

Video: NYI@NSH: Halak closes the door on Arvidsson in close

"We earned it," Head Coach Doug Weight said. "The thing for tonight was we needed two points. To get an ROW (regulation/OT wins - the first tiebreaker) on top of it was pretty great, but we needed the two points and that's what it was going to come down to."

The Islanders continue their postseason push on Thursday night in Carolina. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. 

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