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game recap

Islanders move within five points of wild card

Get overtime win against Predators, who are one out of third in Central

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The New York Islanders moved within five points of the second wild card from the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 overtime win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

The Islanders (38-29-12) trail the Toronto Maple Leafs for the final Stanley Cup Playoff berth from the East with three games remaining.

"Now it's down to two teams that we can root against," Islanders coach Doug Weight said. "It's unfortunate. You'd like to have your own destiny, but we've just got to battle. We've got to do what we do. We've got to win games. We've got three more to win now." 


WATCH: All Islanders vs. Predators highlights


The Predators (40-28-12) moved within one point of third place in the Central Division behind the St. Louis Blues, who were defeated by the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. Nashville tied the Calgary Flames for the first wild card from the West. The Flames lost to the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. 

The Predators clinched a playoff berth for the third consecutive season on Sunday. Coach Peter Laviolette said he didn't feel the Predators were as sharp as they had been in a 3-0 win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday and a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.

"I'll be honest, I think when you clinch and you get that 'X' next to your name, you want to come out and play the same way," Laviolette said. "I do think it dropped a little bit. It didn't have the same bite and the same feel that the Minnesota game and the St. Louis game had."

Thomas Hickey scored 1:25 into overtime on a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that beat Pekka Rinne. It was Hickey's fourth goal.

Hickey, a defenseman, played forward for the first time in his NHL career against the Predators. He was on a line with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey.

"There's just more thinking involved than playing defense," Hickey said. "Obviously for me, even trying to have a nap this afternoon and just going over assignments in my head, I've never played the wing. At the end of the day, there's a few spots you can go to on the ice that are always going to be safe. It took me a few minutes to get my feet under me, and it's a different pace you play with, but it was a ton of fun."

Mike Fisher gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 7:03 of the second period on a one-timer from the right faceoff circle. Colin Wilson took the puck wide and made a cross-ice pass that Fisher shot past Jaroslav Halak for his 18th goal.

Nelson tied it 1-1 at 1:32 of the third with his 18th goal.


Goal of the game

Hickey knocked the puck down out of mid-air and shot the puck around P.K. Subban and past Rinne for the game-winning goal.

Video: NYI@NSH: Hickey beats Rinne with wrister for OT win


Save of the game

Halak made a save on a backhand attempt by Viktor Arvidsson from in front of the net on a Nashville power play in the second period. Arvidsson tried to jam the puck past Halak through the five-hole, but Halak reacted in time to make the save.

Video: NYI@NSH: Halak closes the door on Arvidsson in close


Unsung performance of the game

Islanders forward Anders Lee had six shots on goal and 10 shot attempts. He also won 3-of-4 faceoffs and blocked a shot in 18:28 of ice time.


Highlight of the game

Nelson got around Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm and took a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that beat Rinne above the shoulder on the glove side.

Video: NYI@NSH: Nelson picks the corner with a sweet wrister


They said it

"At this point, you've just got to go out there and lay everything on the line. [Weight] keeps saying just go out there and control what we can control and just try to win out. That's all we can do, give ourselves a shot." -- Islanders forward Brock Nelson on the pursuit of a playoff berth


"I thought he played a pretty good game. It's been tough, certainly not the season that he hoped for with the injuries that he's had and the severity of the injuries he's had, but he's worked his way back. He's been working hard to get to this point to get back and play a game. Not knowing what to expect from somebody who's been out that long, I thought he was straight-lined, I thought he was physical, I thought he did a good job in puck battles. He's a guy that's a bull in a china shop." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette on forward Miikka Salomaki playing in his third game of the season

Need to know

The Islanders have won three consecutive games and have allowed four goals during that span. … Predators forward James Neal (upper body) and defenseman Yannick Weber (upper body) participated in the morning skate Tuesday but did not play.


What's next

Islanders: At the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+ 2, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

Predators: At the Dallas Stars on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-TN, FS-SW, NHL.TV)


Video: Hickey's OT winner lifts Isles to 2-1 win vs. Preds

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