John Tavares' OT winner capped a 3-2 comeback for the New York Islanders, as the Islanders picked up a crucial two points in a rebound win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
Tavares took a drop pass from Josh Ho-Sang and snapped a wrister from the high slot past Cam Ward 34 seconds into OT. The Islanders captain finished a comeback effort that started with a pair of game-saving stops by Thomas Greiss and a pair of goals from Ho-Sang and Jason Chimera 25 seconds apart at the end of the second period.
The comeback win came one night after the Islanders suffered an 8-4 loss to the Hurricanes in Brooklyn. More importantly, the win, coupled with a Toronto Maple Leafs loss, vaulted the Islanders back into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"Our captain gets the biggest goal of the year to date," Interim Coach Doug Weight said.
Video: NYI@CAR: Tavares buries game-winner in overtime
"It was pretty embarrassing last night for sure," Chimera said. "We needed these two points desperately to stay in the race, you don't want to get too far on the outside looking in. It was huge."
The memories of Monday's 8-4 loss were fresh during the first 21 minutes of Tuesday's game, as Elias Lindholm put the Hurricanes up 2-0 less than a minute into the second period. The prospect of dropping a second-straight game to the Hurricanes and a third overall loomed large, but Greiss stepped up and kept the game within reach for the Islanders.
Video: CAR@NYI: Greiss lays out for incredible arm stop
"You know every time you get lit up or don't have your best game, you want to get back out there right away and erase the memory and have a good comeback," Greiss said. "They had a couple of good looks there, but at this time of year you need a couple of good saves there and help the team out."
The Isles goalie, who allowed four goals on 20 shots in relief the night before, made a pair of ridiculous stops in the second period. He lunged across the net to rob Patrick Brown on a two-on-one with Jeff Skinner before capping a three-save sequence by laying his arm out on the goal line to rob Lucas Wallmark.
"He made two great plays and we just rallied from that," Weight said. "Thomas gave us a chance to win and we did."
Video: NYI@CAR: Ho-Sang collects blocked shot, buries PPG
The impact of the saves weren't realized right away, but the Islanders made their goalie's effort count in the last minute of the second period. Ho-Sang, who had his second straight multi-point game, energized his team by scoring on a Nikolay Kulemin rebound at 18:55 and 25 seconds later Jason Chimera pounced on a loose puck and beat Cam Ward upstairs.
Video: NYI@CAR: Chimers starts and finishes his own play
Greiss and Ward were the stars of the third period, with Greiss exacting some personal revenge by denying a Jeff Skinner breakaway, while Ward held off a late Islanders push. That set up overtime, where Ho-Sang, the Islanders energetic and crafty rookie, picked off a pass, starting a sequence that led to Tavares' winner.
"No question it was a good character win," Tavares said. "Good job by everyone staying with it, we easily could have been discouraged and frustrated, but we kept working hard and the game started to turn for us in the second half."
The Islanders and Hurricanes meet for the fifth and final time this season on April 6.
Nelson Day-To-Day, Quine Returns:
Brock Nelson missed Tuesday's game against Carolina with an upper-body injury. Nelson's absence was his first of the season and ended his ironman streak at 82 games. The Islanders center has 38 points (16G, 22A) in 68 games this season.
As Nelson came out of the lineup, Alan Quine went back in, returning for the first time since Feb. 25 - seven games. Quine has 15 points (5G, 10A) in 50 games this season.
The Islanders return home on Thursday night to take on the Winnipeg Jets. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.