Nick Leddy had a night on Friday.
The Islanders defenseman scored a pair of highlight-reel goals and added an assist, leading the New York Islanders to an 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators - their sixth-straight victory - matching their longest streak from last season.
Leddy was the driving force behind Friday night's win, scoring in style with an end-to-end rush and on a penalty shot in the first period, before setting up Matt Martin's eventual winner.
Video: NYI@OTT: Leddy goes five-hole with backhand shot
"He's under-appreciated around the league," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "He's such a great skater, he's the fastest guy we have on our team. He looks so effortless and today he was our best player. He lugged the mail. He had the two great plays, he scored on the penalty shot. One of those guys you don't appreciate unless you have them day in and day out."
First, Leddy turned on the jets and skated straight through the entire Senators team before squeezing a backhander through Anders Nilsson's five hole to tie the score 1-1 at 13:00. The 28-year-old was his nonchalant self about the coast-to-coast play when the gaggle of media approached him post game.
"That was just me trying to create some time and space and get the puck in the zone," Leddy said. "Trying to get the puck to the net and it found the back of the net."
Allow Matt Martin to put it in perspective.
"Ledds has that ability, he's one of the best skaters in this league," Martin said.
Video: NYI@OTT: Leddy pots second goal on penalty shot
Leddy's skating helped set up his second goal too, as he was awarded a penalty shot after being hauled down on a breakaway by Nikita Zaitsev. The defenseman threw Nilsson a changeup, skating in slow before snapping a quick shto to give the Isles a 2-1 lead at 17:19. Leddy made a little more history, becoming the first Isles defenseman to score a regular season penalty shot.
Hats hit the ice early in the second period, but Leddy's would-be third goal turned out to be redirected by Matt Martin in front of the net at 4:58. That left Leddy with two goals on the game, the second two-goal game of his career and first since Nov. 5, 2017 against Colorado. While he said the hat trick would have been nice, he was happy to take two points.
"It was a great win," Leddy said. "I don't think it was our best game, but gritty nonetheless and we got the two points."
ISLES PK HOLDS THE FORT ON KEY KILL:
Leddy, Martin and Derick Brassard - who scored his second goal in as many games - may have built the Isles 4-1 lead and chased Nilsson, but Friday's game was far from over at that point. Midway through Islanders found themselves on an extended penalty kill late in the second period, with a minute-long five-on-three coming on the heels of a 25-second four-on-three.
The elongated penalty also came with one of the Isles top killers indisposed, as Cal Clutterbuck was serving a 10-minute misconduct after a tussle with Mark Borowiecki.
Regardless of the Senator's last-placed power play, it was a big kill for an undermanned Isles squad and a turning point in the game according to Trotz.
"It was a huge turning point," Trotz said. "Once we got to 4-1, we started playing reckless hockey. Unintelligent. We put ourselves in a tough spot with penalties. We got a huge penalty kill and some huge saves from Greisser. At the end of the day, if they score there, we're not having this conversation."
Ottawa eventually broke through for a power-play goal on their sixth chance to make it 4-2 at 7:08 of the third, but that's as close as the Senators would come. Tyler Ennis scored both of the Senators goals on Friday.
Video: NYI@OTT: Martin pots redirection in front
KUHNHACKL LEAVES WITH INJURY, ISLES START GMAE WITH 11F/7D:
Friday's win came at a cost, as Tom Kuhnhackl left the game in the first period with lower-body injury. Kuhnhackl crashed awkwardly into the boards with Dylan DeMelo and needed to be helped off the ice. Trotz did not have an immediate update after the game.
Kuhnhackl's early exit left the Isles with 10 forwards, as Barry Trotz decided to go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen on Friday. Michael Dal Colle and Oliver Wahlstrom came out of the lineup for Kuhnhackl and defenseman Noah Dobson, who was making his first appearance since Oct. 11.
The Isles played with as few as eight at one point, as Martin also briefly left the game after an awkward collision at the Senators' bench, while Clutterbuck and Anders Lee served penalties.
Video: NYI@OTT: Brassard scores off feed from Barzal
GREISS PASSES HALAK ON FRANCHISE WINS LIST:
Thomas Greiss recorded his 89th win as an Islander on Friday night, moving into sole possession of fifth place on the franchise's all-time leaderboard, breaking a tie with former platoon partner Jaroslav Halak.
Greiss made 30 saves to win his third-straight start.
The Isles improved to 2-0-0 in the second half of back-to-back sets this season and are now 13-1-1 in that category since the arrival of Barry Trotz last season.
The Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night at NYCB Live. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.