The New York Islanders got their mojo back on Wednesday, riding a three-goal second period to a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators, snapping a four-game losing streak in the process.
John Tavares, Matt Martin and Brock Nelson struck in the second period, while JF Berube made 22 saves for his second win of the season. It wasn’t an offensive rout on Wednesday night, but it was a much-needed breakthrough for the Islanders, who hadn’t scored three goals since their win over the Florida Panthers, five games before.
“It was a big second for us,” Travis Hamonic said. “It’s nice to get a couple, they haven’t been coming the easiest for us of late. Hopefully we can just keep riding it.”
The Islanders simplified their offense on Wednesday, shooting pucks and converging on the net for rebounds. Tavares and Martin each scored by going to the dirty areas, the captain winning a draw back to Josh Bailey and sweeping his rebound past Andrew Hammond at 5:24, while Martin parked himself in front of the net before tipping a Hamonic point shot at 14:28.
“You get rewarded when you go there,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “It’s a tough job when you go there. You have to pay the price to get to those dirty areas and your defense has to get pucks through. We started to get pucks through, good things happened down low.”
Twenty-one seconds after Martin’s goal, Nelson padded the Islanders’ lead. Former-Senator Shane Prince pulled off a nifty, no-look pass from behind the net, while Nelson, coming in with speed, quickly snapped the puck past Hammond.
“Good to see some pucks go in, hopefully it can lead to some more,” Tavares said.
Berube played an important role in the Islanders’ win, holding the fort for the Islanders in the first period. If not for a lunging save across his crease to take an open net away from Mark Stone, the Islanders would have been playing catch-up.
“I made a little bit of a desperation save there,” Berube said. “To be honest, I think it was going wide there, but I was just tracking the puck as good as I could.”
Capuano called it a potential turning point in the game.
“It was a big save, it could have been a turning point in the game,” the coach said. “Any time you get a big save like that it lifts your guys. It lets them know that the guy between the pipes came to play tonight and we have to battle for him.”
The only shot to elude him was a high backhand from Stone in the third period, as Stone was sprung in behind the Islanders' defense.
With the win, the Islanders (87 points) moved four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings and currently sit one point back of the Pittsburgh Penguins (88 points) for third in the Metropolitan Division.
The Islanders head to Florida for a date with the Atlantic Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.