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Okposo's OT goal lifts Islanders past Blue Jackets

by Craig Merz /

COLUMBUS -- The New York Islanders are putting in extra work, but it's worth it to get a result such as the 3-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Saturday.

Kyle Okposo's second goal of the game with 2:44 left in overtime capped the Islanders' fifth consecutive overtime game, a franchise record.

Frans Nielsen had a goal and Jaroslav Halak made 28 saves for New York (17-8-5), which is 7-0-2 in its past nine. But Okposo said losing third-period leads in back-to-back games shows the Islanders have room for improvement.

"We've done a pretty good job of getting points when we haven't played our best," he said. "We have to find a way to get back to that level because we can't sustain this."

In overtime, Columbus (11-17-3) had Ryan Johansen and Brandon Saad primed for an offensive chance but they lost the puck between the circles.

Saad and Cam Atkinson scored for Columbus and Curtis McElhinney made 16 saves.

"It's unfortunate," Johansen said. "You want to try and make the play. We had an odd-man rush and they made a good play to get a stick on it and bang, they're off the other way."

Okposo completed a 2-on-0 when Josh Bailey passed to him in the low slot and Okposo scored on a backhand shot for his eighth goal.

"I was yelling at him to just take it," Okposo said. "I was prepared for it. In that situation, sometimes you drop it. It worked out. He tried to make the goalie bite and throw it back. It was a good play."

Columbus has lost twice in overtime and once in a shootout in its past three home games. The Blue Jackets are 0-1-2 in their past three overall.

"We played better. We found a way to come back, but we've got to find the extra point," Columbus coach John Tortorella said. "Coming out of our end zone was much better tonight. We're trying to keep it positive and build on it. I was really happy with our back pressure and coming out together.

"We're not going to get down. Our record is what it is. I suggest we don't look at it and worry about getting better each day."

Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner thought he scored the go-ahead goal with 48 seconds left in the third period, but replays concluded he kicked the puck across the line after a centering pass by Saad.

"[Saad] made a nice pass across," Jenner said. "It went off my stick and I kind of lost it in the goal. I guess it was a kicking motion. There's nothing I can do about it."

The play underwent a lengthy review before the initial ruling of a goal was overturned.

"It's their call. We just play the game," Tortorella said. "We just line up and whenever they make the call we go from there."

Johansen hoped the goal would have counted but was equally disappointed that Columbus received three penalties in the game.

"It was a really close call. You've got to trust whoever's looking at [the review]," he said. "Maybe we could have gotten a couple of power plays. One would have been nice."

Atkinson got his ninth goal and third in two games at 8:20 of the third period on a one-timer set up by David Savard.

"They turned it for seven or eight minutes," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We mismanaged the puck but our goalie made some big saves."

After Saad tied the score 1-1 early in the second period, Nielsen regained the lead for New York 2:02 later. The power-play goal score at 7:10 came off a Nick Leddy shot.

His 12th goal tied Nielsen with John Tavares for the Islanders lead. Nielsen has goals in back-to-back games.

Saad scored at 5:08 by converting a goalmouth pass from Jenner for his 10th goal. Jenner pulled the puck out of a pileup behind the net and skate to the left of goal before finding Saad, who hadn't scored in 11 games, one shy of the longest drought of his career.

Okposo opened the scoring 15:21 into the game when he took advantage of a turnover by Gregory Campbell and put a shot past McElhinney, which came on New York's fourth and final shot of the period.

"It's a free one. Can't have it," Tortorella said. "We're not in a position to give a free one."

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