Anthony Beauvillier scored the go-ahead goal with 7:31 to play in the third period, as the New York Islanders beat the Ottawa Senators 4-2 on Thursday night at Canadian Tire Centre.
Beauvillier stuffed home an Adam Pelech rebound to bust the 2-2 tie, delivering a home-and-home sweep for the Isles. It wasn't the easiest two points on Thursday, but it was an important pair, as New York (85 points) moved back into a tie with Washington for first in the Metropolitan Division.
"We got two points and have to move on," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "You have to look at the big picture. We've had some guys out, we've had all that, but when it's mattered, we've found ways to win."
Video: NYI@OTT: Beauvillier pokes puck by Nilsson for lead
Thursday night was no gimme for the Isles, that much was clear when Brady Tkachuk put Brock Nelson through a pane of glass in the first period. The last-placed Senators played a fast and physical game, but the Islanders buried their chances and grinded their way through a choppy game to a win.
Trotz said he wasn't thrilled with his team's second period, where they allowed 17 shots - and one Oscar Lindberg goal - to the Senators, but was pleased with how his team protected their third-period lead.
The coach and players both admitted there's some work to be done to clean up their game, but in the heat of a playoff race, points are paramount.
"It wasn't pretty the last two games, but four points is four points," Beauvillier said.
Video: NYI@OTT: Komarov, Filppula connect for opening tally
TWO GOALS FOR FILPPULA:
Valtteri Filppula scored the Islanders first two goals on Thursday night. Both came in the first period and upped the center's season total to 15, the first time he's hit the mark since the 2013-14 season.
Filppula opened the scoring for the Islanders, backhanding a Leo Komarov feed past former Isles goalie Anders Nilsson at 5:44. Tkachuk's deflection made it 1-1 at the seven-minute mark, but Filppula restored the lead before the end of the period, batting a Tom Kuhnhackl feed out of the air at 15:24.
"Out there, he's so smart," Casey Cizikas, who iced the game with an empty-netter, said of Filppula. "He's always in the right spot and making the right plays. One second he's doing something and then he pulls something out of a hat and you're like 'oh, my god.'"
The veteran center nearly completed the trick on a shorthanded two-on-one with Komarov in the second, but he was robbed by a sliding Nilsson. His shot at an empty net in the final minute of the game was also blocked. The two-goal game was Filppula's 15th of his 941-game career, but he has yet to complete the trick.
Video: NYI@OTT: Filppula bats in second goal
GREISS GETS THE WIN:
With Robin Lehner day-to-day with an upper-body injury, Thomas Greiss (35 saves) got the start on Thursday night. Greiss was solid, especially during a 16-save second period to keep the Isles afloat during a Sens seige. The Isles goalie improved to 19-10-2 this season.
The Islanders got a positive result in the standings, as the Columbus Blue Jackets were shut out by the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0. Columbus is two points back of the Montreal Canadiens for the second wild card and are eight points back of the Isles.
Video: NYI@OTT: Cizikas seals win with empty-net goal
KUHNHACKL IN FOR LADD:
Tom Kuhnhackl drew into the lineup on Thursday for Andrew Ladd. The decision was partly influenced by Ladd's long injury layoff and partially on Kuhnhackl's penalty killing ability, as the Islanders were missing Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck. Kuhnhackl played alongside Filppula and Jordan Eberle.
The Islanders return home Saturday to take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Bill Torrey Appreciation Night at NYCB Live.