The New York Islanders set a franchise record on Thursday night, extending their point streak to 16 straight games (15-0-1) with a 4-3 OT win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Brock Nelson scored the OT winner to deliver a win in the record-setting game, as the Isles set an organizational best and matched the longest point streak in the NHL in each of the past two seasons. The Islanders last regulation loss came on Oct. 11, 43 days ago.
"It's special. Something that we haven't thought about much. It's day by day kind of right now for us. Looking back you'll remember it forever," Nelson said. "It just means we have a special group of guys who believe in each other, who go out there and work every day. It's not always pretty, but right now we have a lot of belief and confidence in everybody and are finding ways to win."
NELSON CAPS 500TH GAME IN STYLE:
Brock Nelson's 500th game was a memorable one.
The Islanders forward got a surprise visit from his mom, who flew out from Minnesota for the game, and wound up scoring two goals, including the overtime winner at 4:16 of the extra frame. It was a beauty, as Nelson outwaited Matt Murray as he cut across the slot off the rush before sliding a backhander home for the win. Nelson now has game-winning goals in back-to-back games and leads the Islanders with four winners this season.
"You'll remember the milestones," Nelson said. "First game, first goal. And 500, with the way it played out, it's something you'll remember for a while."
With a two-goal night, Nelson extended his current point streak to five games, with nine points (4G, 5A) over that span. Prior to the game, Head Coach Barry Trotz commented on how Nelson was realizing his "upside" now that he's got a "bigger piece of the pie."
Video: PIT@NYI: Nelson nets go-ahead goal on power play
"When I first got here, I always felt he had more upside," Trotz said pregame. "He's earned everything as a player. He's another player that plays every situation we have. We rely on him in every important situation. It's a compliment on Brock, he's grown as a player without a lot of fanfare."
Nelson thought he'd scored the winning goal with 4:52 to play in regulation, as he snapped a power-play goal over Matt Murray's shoulder, but the Penguins responded with a goal late. Patric Hornqvist scored his second of the game to tie the score 3-3 with 29.9 seconds to play to force overtime. Trotz said he was disappointed to give the Penguins a point in the game, but the Isles were proud of their resiliency to prevent the Rust goal from being their undoing.
"We have a team that's cold blooded," Anthony Beauvillier said. "We stuck with it even though they tied the game late. We kind of focus on the process."
Video: PIT@NYI: Beauvillier ties it up on power play
BEAUVILLIER, BRASSARD CONTINUE STREAKS:
Along with Nelson, Anthony Beauvillier and Derick Brassard are both très chaud of late, extending their respective point streaks in the win over the Penguins.
Beauvillier recorded a goal for a fourth-straight game - his sixth goal over that span - while Brassard extended his point streak to five games (1G, 7A) with the primary helper. Asked what's behind the hot streak, Beauvillier said he didn't know, but the plan was just to keep riding it.
"Enjoy it, you never know when it's going to stop," Beauvillier said. "I went 10 games without scoring and now it keeps going into the back of the net. I'm going to take advantage of it and enjoy the bounces."
The Isles French Connection came together to tie the score 2-2 in the second period, with Beauvillier slamming home a Brassard rebound with Jake Guentzel in the penalty box serving a pair of minors. Guentzel was initially called for roughing, but got an extra two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct after chirping at one of the referees.
Video: PIT@NYI: Mayfield scores off defender
ISLES LOOK TO IMPROVE SLOW START:
If there was one thing the Isles were unsatisfied with after Thursday's game, it was their start. Evgeni Malkin put the Penguins up 1-0 at 1:09 of the first period and the Isles didn't register a shot until the midway point of the period.
Scott Mayfield's wrister made it 1-1 after 20 minutes, but the Penguins struck early again in the second period, as Rust took advantage of a turnover at the Penguins blue line, skated down the ice and beat Thomas Greiss far side. Again, the Isles didn't register a shot in the first five minutes of the period, but found their stride as the game went along.
MARTIN RETURNS TO LINEUP:
Matt Martin returned to the Islanders lineup on Thursday night after missing nine games with a lower-body injury.
Martin, who has been out since Oct. 25 after hitting his leg off the inside of the Ottawa Senators bench, rejoined his regular linemates Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas. Martin skated 7:15 TOI with four hits and a blocked shot.
The Islanders embark on a three-game California road trip, starting on Saturday night in San Jose. Puck drop is at 10:30 p.m.