Brock Nelson's OT winner capped a New York Islanders comeback on Monday night, as the Isles skated to a 6-5 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Barclays Center.
Nelson kept and shot on a two-on-one rush in overtime, sniping his second of the game stick side on Leafs' goalie Frederik Andersen. In the process, the Islanders relieved a mini two-game winless streak and picked up a pair of important points as the Eastern Conference playoff race continues to tighten.
"Everyone knew where we were in the standings, especially in relation to Toronto, so it was a huge two points for us," Nelson said.
Video: TOR@NYI: Nelson wins it in OT with his second goal
Before Nelson could play the hero, the Islanders were forced to battle back late in the third period on Monday night. William Nylander put Toronto ahead 5-4 with 2:01 to play, seemingly setting the Islanders up for another late-game disappointment, but Andrew Ladd deflected a Josh Bailey shot with 1:29 to play, sending the game to overtime.
"That's a feel-good game," said Ryan Strome, who finished with a goal and an assist, extending his point streak to four games. "To come from behind like that, that shows a lot of confidence and poise in our team. At this time of the year, you need those wins."
Video: TOR@NYI: Ladd pots deflection to tie game late
The late-game drama ultimately yielded a storybook ending, but Interim Coach Doug Weight said Monday's tilt was as advertised. Both teams played fast and loose and the coach was not surprised to see the goals get racked up.
"Toronto lived up to their billing, fast and explosive," Weight said. "Plenty of teams have given up five to Toronto. It's not okay, but a win is a win and we dug deep…."
The Islanders started fast, with Strome opening the scoring 1:23 into the contest, chasing down and potting his own rebound past Andersen. The Leafs answered for two straight, as Nikita Soshnikov and Auston Matthews scored 1:24 a part, putting Toronto ahead at 14:51. Former-Leaf Nikolay Kulemin evened the score before the end of the period, batting in a Casey Cizikas rebound at 18:13.
Video: TOR@NYI: Strome nets own rebound past Andersen
The Leafs grabbed the lead back to start the second period, as Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman scored to make it 4-2 by the midway point of the period. Marner was the beneficiary of a cross-ice pass from Tyler Bozak, while Hyman scored on a shorthanded 2-on-1, electing to keep and shoot stick-side past Thomas Greiss.
But the Islanders dug deep again. Nelson cut the deficit in half with his first of the night, corralling a pass from Strome and beating Andersen up high. Anders Lee (2A) picked up the second assist, as the "kid line" was briefly reunited on the ice.
"We got better as the game went on," Weight said.
Video: TOR@NYI: Nelson rips Strome's pass top shelf
Trailing 4-3 entering the third period, Bailey tied things up with his 11th goal of the season, as Andersen bobbled a Dennis Seidenberg floater that landed on Bailey's stick at 13:30. Nylander scored 4:29 later, setting up the wild finish.
With the win, the Islanders sit three points back of the Philadelphia Flyers for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. The two teams face off on Thursday night in Philadelphia at 7 p.m.