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Hawks top Isles 3-2 in OT

by Brian Compton /
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders have suffered only two defeats during the last two weeks. Both have come at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Patrick Sharp scored his second goal of the night 1:34 into overtime to lift the Hawks to a 3-2 victory at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Thursday. The victory came six days after the Blackhawks beat the Isles 5-4 in a shootout at United Center.

New York rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force the extra session, but had to settle for one point when Sharp fired home a rebound after Al Montoya stopped Marian Hossa on a 2-on-1 break. It came after defenseman Steve Staios lost the puck in the Hawks' zone and then fell down.

Hossa also notched his 400th NHL goal for Chicago (17-8-4), which returns home to face the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

"It was a fortunate bounce … I saw it just sitting there," Sharp said of his game-winner, which was his 15th goal of the season. "The goalie was kind of down for making a save. That was one I wanted to put in, for sure."

By forcing overtime, the Isles (9-11-6) have gone six straight games without a regulation loss. Both of their goals came at even strength as Travis Hamonic scored in the second before Michael Grabner's tip of a shot by Staios evened things up midway through the third.

New York will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

"We can take the positives out of this," Staios said. "We don't ever want to lose at home. We want to be a strong team to play against at home. But at the same time, we didn't have a first period that we were happy with. But we bounced back, which is encouraging. We are moving in the right direction as a team and there are going to be nights that you just don't have (the win).

"The fact that we didn't have it in the first period and that we were able to come back and do what we did, play the way that we did in the latter half of the game, it's a real good sign for us."

Chicago broke a scoreless tie when Hossa scored during a power play at 11:42 of the opening period. With Josh Bailey in the box for boarding, Patrick Kane sent a soft pass from behind the net in front, where Hossa quickly poked it past Montoya for his 12th goal of the season and 400th of his NHL career.

"It's a great number, obviously," Hossa said. "Four hundred means something, but I didn't really think about it too much. It happened on the power play. It went off the goalie's stick and skate and (went) in the back of the net, so (it was) one of the lucky ones. You would think it would be a nice one, but I'll take this."

Sharp put the Blackhawks up by a pair just 2:23 into the second period. With the teams at even strength, Sharp took a cross-ice feed from Hossa and ripped a one-timer from the left circle past Montoya to make it 2-0.

Hamonic got New York on the scoreboard with 1:19 left in the second period. The Isles' defenseman, who was held scoreless through the first 25 games of the season, took a nice cross-ice feed from PA Parenteau and fired a rocket from the right point past Ray Emery (31 saves) to make it 2-1.

The Islanders found themselves with a two-man advantage for 1:56 before the end of the second period as Kane and Dave Bolland were sent to the penalty box just four seconds apart. But Brian Rolston fired wide twice before the end of the period and the Isles failed to test Emery early in the third as a golden opportunity slipped away. They finished 0-for-6 on the power play.

"The 5-on-3 to start kind of hurt us a little bit," Isles coach Jack Capuano said. "We had some looks, we missed the net. They did a good job getting in lanes. I give them credit. But overall, I thought we played a solid game."

Grabner tied the game with his eighth goal of the season with 9:08 left in regulation. Staios took a pass from Frans Nielsen and ripped a slap shot from the left point that Grabner deflected past Emery to make it 2-2.

Sharp said the Islanders remind him of the Hawks of a few years ago.

"They're a good team with young, exciting players over there," Sharp said. "We were in that situation a few years ago and they're a dangerous team. We've played them twice now and they're hungry to win. They're on their way. I remember coming in here with Philadelphia years ago, and it's a much different team. They've got things going in the right direction, for sure."

The Isles' ability to come back from a 2-0 deficit against one of the elite teams in the League was evidence of that. One could make a case this was a game New York would have lost in regulation just a few weeks ago.

"Right now, our guys are resilient," Capuano said. "I like the bench, I like the attitude. We're playing with an attitude, we're playing with an edge and we're playing with a little bit of a swagger and that's what we need to do.

"It was 2-0 … we could have packed it in. We kept coming. I liked the chances that we had. We've just got to continue to play like that."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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