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GAME STORY: Islanders 3, Oilers 2

by Marc Ciampa / Edmonton Oilers

UNIONDALE, NY – The Edmonton Oilers played a strong road game and at times dominated the Islanders, but a late third-period goal by Casey Cizikas handed the Oilers a 3-2 defeat on Tuesday night.

“It was a great hockey game. They came at us real hard the first five or six minutes. Once we settled in, we had a couple good hits and then we scored that power play goal,” said Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson. “We started to get stronger as the game went on. After that, it was back and forth.”

Edmonton outshot New York 36-28, including 15-5 in the third period. 

“I like the way our guys played. A back-to-back game against a very tough opponent, a good hockey team. I can’t complain at all about the effort. It was outstanding. If we play like that — we’re getting our opportunities to score — they’re going to start going in. And good things are going to happen.”

The best chance of the game early on came when John Tavares set up Colin McDonald for what looked like an easy tap-in after a pass across the slot but McDonald fanned on the puck.

About two minutes later, Oilers starting goaltender Viktor Fasth made a save on a quick redirection from Brock Nelson. Nelson then swatted at a rebound that wasn't there and the Oilers took exception to it, swarming him with some pushing and shoving.

With 10:06 to go in the first, the initial power play of the game went to Edmonton after Anders Lee got two for hooking.

23 seconds into the man advantage, the Oilers struck to take the lead. Ryan Hamilton tipped a shot from the left circle by Nail Yakupov past Islanders starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak to make it 1-0 Edmonton. The goal was Hamilton's first in his NHL career.

"It's definitely a good feeling," Hamilton said of scoring his first career goal. "It happened so quick. Today was a quick day, just non-stop going and travelling. I didn't really have time to think about it. Once you get (there) you have to focus on the little things and that's what I was trying to do."

Matt Hendricks cleared the puck over the glass from his own zone to send New York on the PP only 35 seconds after the Oilers goal.

New York did not convert on the man advantage but had plenty of chances. Their best came when Lee tried to backhand the puck off Fasth's pads and in from the side of the net but the puck just narrowly missed the net on the ricochet.

With 6:23 to go in period one, New York struck even strength after a handful of great chances on the power play. Colin McDonald dished the puck up to Matt Martin who fired it on net. McDonald was perched at the side of the net to put home the rebound on the backhand to make it 1-1.

Shot count in the first period ended up 11-8 for the Islanders.

Period two started slowly with neither team carrying the play until about nine minutes remained in the middle frame. At that time, the Islanders started pressing for the go-ahead goal. With 8:33 to play, New York finally did get that go-ahead marker. Thomas Hickey's shot from the point was tipped on its way to the net by Josh Bailey and sailed over the shoulder of Fasth for the 2-1 lead.

With five minutes to play in the second, Bailey and Matt Hendricks did some pushing and shoving with some fists flying after the whistle. The result of the skirmish was two minutes for roughing to Hendricks and two for roughing plus two for cross-checking to Bailey. Oilers went on the power play where they converted to tie the game.

In the slot, Anton Lander took a feed from Jordan Eberle and converted with a quick wrist shot to tie the game at 2-2. with 3:26 to go in the period.

The Oilers opened the third period outshooting the Islanders 8-0 and at times were very dominant, with some great scoring chances but Jaroslav Halak was tough to beat. Overall, shots in the third period were 15-5 for the Oilers.  

In Edmonton's best chance, Eberle picked up a rebound at the top of the crease after Oscar Klefbom wristed it on net from the point. Eberle's rebound went off the post and was then smothered by Halak. 

From about the 12-minute mark to the 15-minute mark, the Oilers completely dominate the Islanders in their end, cycling the puck for several minutes. The Islanders got a bronx cheer when they finally cleared the puck out of the zone.

With 4:37 to play in the third, New York skated back down the ice and scored to take the lead. Casey Cizikas wristed a shot in the slot and it found its way past Fasth for the 3-2 lead and that's how the game would end.
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