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Islanders score in third, defeat Blues in shootout

by David Satriano

NEW YORK -- Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo scored in the shootout to give the New York Islanders a 2-1 win against the St. Louis Blues at Barclays Center on Friday.

The Islanders (15-8-4) were trailing heading into the third period. Mikhail Grabovski's fifth goal of the season at 6:39 of the third period tied the game.

"Big win," Nielsen said. "I don't think we came out the way we wanted to, a little sloppy, and turnovers, but something definitely happened with the team after Grabovski scored and we got more energy."

Grabovski skated into the zone, passed to a crossing Ryan Strome, who fed him back the puck. Blues goalie Brian Elliott stopped Grabovski's backhand attempt but he put the rebound into the net.

New York goalie Thomas Greiss made 31 saves and stopped Kevin Shattenkirk and Vladimir Tarasenko in the shootout. Greiss has won his past three starts and is 8-3-2.

The Islanders finished a 3-0-0 homestand, are 10-2-1 against the Western Conference, and are 5-0-1 in their past six games.

"You have to learn to win tight games," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "Not every night is going to be 4-3, 5-4. You have to learn to win in different ways and I think our guys played well tonight defensively."

Greiss allowed fewer than three goals for the eighth time in 13 appearances, sharing time with Jaroslav Halak.

"[Greiss] has been unbelievable," Nielsen said. "He's given us a chance every night he's in the net. It's great when you have two goalies like that."

Elliott made 24 saves; his last win was Oct. 15 (4-2 against Edmonton Oilers). Jake Allen started the prior six games, although Elliott came on in relief of Allen and played 17:55 and made eight saves on eight shots in a 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

"I really wish we could have gotten Brian a win, he really deserved it," Shattenkirk said. "He's playing fantastic for us, so it's the only tough part to swallow."

Shattenkirk scored with 27 seconds left in the first period to give the Blues (15-7-4) a 1-0 lead. Paul Stastny won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Shattenkirk, who passed to Vladimir Tarasenko at the blue line. Tarasenko sent the pass back to Shattenkirk, who one-timed it past Greiss for his third goal of the season.

"We are trying to get more people to contribute offensively, but we're not there yet," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We need more help from more people."

New York swept the season series with St. Louis; the Islanders defeated the Blues 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 24, when Grabovski scored the winner.

"I think we'd like to score more and create a bit more, but at the end of the day, we are getting wins," Strome said. "The team is playing good right now. ... These are good teams we're playing right now. It's good to get these two points."

Blues rookie defenseman Colton Parayko left the game 2:52 into the third period after falling awkwardly and appearing to twist his right ankle on a hit by Strome but returned less than five minutes later.

"I was shocked" Hitchcock said. "It was good news, but I was shocked he came back."

The Islanders begin a three-game road trip against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. The Blues start a five-game homestand against the Toronto Maple Leafs.


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