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game recap

Gibson, Islanders defeat Flames, end eight-game slide

Goalie makes 50 saves; Calgary remains two points out of playoff spot

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

Gibson's 50-save performance

NYI@CGY: Gibson stops 50 for first win of season

Christopher Gibson turns in a sparkling performance, stopping 50 shots in the Islanders' 5-2 victory for his first win of the season

  • 02:10 •

CALGARY -- Christopher Gibson made 50 saves, Johnny Boychuk had a goal and two assists, and the New York Islanders ended an eight-game losing streak with a 5-2 win against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday.

Anders Lee scored twice, and Nick Leddy and Jordan Eberle scored for the Islanders (30-29-10), who moved within seven points of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

"Something's got to give, especially if you keep doing the right things," Boychuk said. "We know we're in a corner and we have to win as many games as we can."


[WATCH: All Islanders vs. Flames highlights]


Gibson set an NHL career high for saves in his first win of the season (1-0-2) and the second of his NHL career (2-1-3).

"Personally it's great, but hockey is a team game," said Gibson, whose previous NHL best was 47 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss at the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 3. "I think it's more important that our team got the win today. We just have to keep it going."

Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Giordano scored, and Mike Smith made 22 saves in his first start since Feb. 11 for the Flames (34-26-10), who had won two straight games. Calgary remains two points behind the Anaheim Ducks for third place in the Pacific Division and two points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card from the Western Conference.

Video: NYI@CGY: Gaudreau roofs shot from sharp angle

"It's about doing little things and building on those little things when you might not think they're important things in the game and they turn out to be the turning points in games," Smith said. "We do that and it'll give ourselves a chance to get in there."

Smith allowed three goals on New York's first seven shots in his return after missing 13 games because of a lower-body injury.

"I was looking forward to coming back and playing," Smith said. "I think mentally, you've got to put [the rough start] behind you. You can't do anything about it at that point. I think you're trying to just keep it close. Unfortunately tonight we couldn't keep it close enough." 

Leddy and Boychuk scored on consecutive shots 18 seconds apart early in the first period to put the Islanders up 2-0. Leddy scored over Smith's shoulder from the point at 2:14, and Boychuk's slap shot from the point was deflected past Smith's glove at 2:32.

"We knew that he hadn't played in a while but he's a good goaltender," said Boychuk, who was plus-5. "It was just guys going to the net and shooting pucks and it's getting through."

Video: NYI@CGY: Leddy, Boychuk tally two in 18 seconds

Gaudreau scored his first goal in eight games to cut it to 2-1 at 7:23, but Eberle put in his own rebound to make it 3-1 at 10:25.

Lee scored on a rebound 50 seconds into the second period to put New York up 4-1.

Giordano scored at 7:24 of the third period to make it 4-2, and Lee scored his second into an empty net with 11 seconds remaining in the third to make it 5-2.


Goal of the game

Eberle's goal at 10:25 of the first period.

Video: NYI@CGY: Eberle backhands in his own rebound


Save of the game

Gibson's save on Sam Bennett at 15:32 of the third period.

Video: NYI@CGY: Gibson stones Bennett in close


Highlight of the game

Gibson's save on Gaudreau with 3:09 remaining in the third period.

Video: NYI@CGY: Gibson flashes the pad for strong save


They said it

"The way we started the game taking those two goals right off the bat is huge, especially when we're struggling, we're on the road at the end of a long trip. It's been a demoralizing few weeks here. We had to dig deep here. That kind of energy at the beginning of the game really brought the spirits up." -- Islanders forward Anders Lee on ending a 1-0-3 trip


"You just look at our start compared to how we finished and the desperation, the urgency just wasn't there at the start and it got us behind the eight ball. It's tough to come back in this league. We threw everything at [Gibson], but it just wasn't enough. It's exhausting to try and chase the game, especially that early. That's the way it went tonight." -- Flames goaltender Mike Smith


Need to know

The win was Gibson's first in the NHL since April 5, 2016, when New York won 4-3 in overtime at the Washington Capitals. He joined Billy Smith as the only rookies in Islanders history to make at least 50 saves in a game. Smith made 55 in a 5-3 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 22, 1972 … John Tavares had two assists and moved ahead of John Tonelli (338) for fifth place on the New York assist list with 340. … Calgary forward Matthew Tkachuk left the game with an injury at 14:55 of the third period. There was no update on his condition. … Gaudreau has six points (one goal, five assists) in a four-game point streak and 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in his past 20 games.


What's next

Islanders: Host the Washington Capitals on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; SN360, MSG+, NBCSWA, NHL.TV).

Flames: Host the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; SN, SN1 (JIP), NHL.TV).


Video: Islanders beat Flames to snap eight-game skid

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