The New York Islanders were 1:50 away from striking oil, but but saw a 1-0 lead slip to a 2-1 shootout loss Thursday night in Edmonton.
Thomas Hickey's third-period goal had the Islanders in a prime spot to snap a seven-game winless streak. Instead, Connor McDavid's centering feed caromed off Brandon Davidson's stick and past Christopher Gibson to force overtime and the Oilers captain finished the comeback in a shootout, extending the Isles winless streak to eight straight (0-4-4).
"It's crazy, we play them tight all game and right up till the very end Brandon played him very well, it was a bad bounce and that's the way things are it seems right now," Hickey said. "It keeps on stinging and hurting not getting two points."
The manner in which the Islanders lost Thursday hurt. After Hickey put the Isles ahead 1-0 - pinching off the blue line, pulling the puck to his backhand and tucking a quick shot top corner on Cam Talbot - the Islanders clamped down defensively, holding the Oilers without a shot until the middle of the period.
Video: NYI@EDM: Hickey roofs quick backhander past Talbot
They couldn't find an insurance goal - Josh Bailey's crossbar was as close as they came - but with the way Gibson (35 saves) was playing, it looked like onei wouldn't be needed. Even on the tying goal, Davidson forced McDavid below the goal line, but bad luck reared it's ugly head, with the pass banking off the defenseman's stick and spoiling the shutout.
"It's one of those bounces you wish you could have back," Davidson said after the game. "It's frustrating. It seems like it's been a theme the last little bit here."
Gibson rebounded with a tremendous overtime as McDavid worked his magic. Gibson stopped all six shots he faced, including McDavid in alone after splitting the D and an Oscar Klefbom one-timer from the slot. McDavid's penalty shot was the Oilers best chance in overtime, but he rang his shot off the post to keep the game alive.
Video: NYI@EDM: Gibson sprawls to deny McDavid in overtime
The Islanders still had a chance to salvage the critical second point, as Nick Leddy fed Jordan Eberle with a cross-crease pass that the former Oiler couldn't lift over Talbot's pad.
Eberle did score in the opening round of the shootout, but goals by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the winner from McDavid was the difference.
"We have to be closing games out right now," Davidson said. "We have to be on the other end of these because for the most part we are in control and we are playing good hockey. It would be nice to get on a roll and that's a tough one tonight with that bounce."
Video: NYI@EDM: Hickey lays out Lucic with a big check
The Islanders (68 points) picked up a point on Thursday, but fell further behind the Columbus Blue Jackets (75 points) for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Florida Panthers (73 points) and Carolina Hurricanes (71 points) also won Thursday.
EBERLE RETURNS TO EDMONTON:
Video: NYI@EDM: Oilers honor Eberle's return with tribute
The Islanders wrap up their four-game road trip on Sunday evening in Calgary. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. et.