Chicago captain Jonathan Toews came through again at all the right times for the Blackhawks.
Toews netted the only goal in the shootout, after posting a short-handed goal and assist in regulation, and the Blackhawks outlasted the New York Islanders 5-4 on Friday night.
Toews’ goal gave Chicago a 3-2 lead heading into the third period, but the Islanders dominated the final 20 minutes of regulation. New York outshot Chicago 23-7 in the third and forced overtime with rookie Nino Niederreiter’s goal midway through the frame.
Toews, who leads the Blackhawks with 14 goals and 27 points, led off the shootout by beating Al Montoya.
”It keeps coming back to the same thing,” Toews said. ”Though we’re going to make mistakes every single game, we’re going to find ways to win.”
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was less than thrilled with his team’s third-period defensive meltdown. He wasn’t surprised, however, that Toews was the player who helped bail out the Blackhawks.
”He had a great pace to his game,” Quenneville said. ”He had the puck a lot. He was a force.
”He’s been a pretty dynamic player over the last stretch of games. Every game we see it: He just keeps getting better over the course of a season.”
Corey Crawford stopped New York’s Frans Nielsen and Nino Niederreiter in the shootout. Matt Moulson, the final Islanders shooter, hit the post to end the game.
Crawford also was strong late in regulation, and stopped 37 of the Islanders’ season-high 41 shots through overtime.
”He got tested and challenged in the third,” Quenneville said. ”Their chances in the third probably tripled what they had in the first two (periods.)”
Andrew Brunette, rookie Ben Smith and Patrick Sharp also scored for the Blackhawks.
The 19-year-old Niederreiter scored his first goal of the season midway through the third period to tie the game at 4. His low, 35-foot shot from the slot beat Crawford on the stick side for his second NHL goal.
Moulson and P.A. Parenteau both had a goal and an assist for the Islanders, whose two-game winning streak ended. Kyle Okposo also scored for New York, and Montoya made 32 saves in his fourth straight start.
”We kept coming, and if there was a bounce here of there, we might have had a couple,” Moulson said. ”It was a back-and-forth game, and in those types of situations you have to keep coming, no matter what happens.
”Unfortunately, we only came away with one point, but it was a test of our character to keep coming back on a team like that.”
Islanders coach Jack Capuano liked his team’s effort and resiliency.
”I thought we played one of the better games of the year,” Capuano said. ”That’s a good hockey team. Their (defensemen) activate as good as any team that we’ve played.
”They gave us trouble the first period and a half the way they came and they came, and they beat us up the ice, but I thought that after the second period, all of a sudden, we got 12-13 quick shots on net. We’re right back in it, and our guys worked hard.”
Blackhawks star forward Patrick Kane, who has been playing center since the start of the season, returned to right wing and skated on a line with Toews and left wing Viktor Stalberg.
Okposo’s power-play goal off a big rebound 4:07 in gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
Brunette tied it midway through the first to complete a nifty passing play. He fired into an open net from the left edge of the crease after taking a backhand feed from Sean O’Donnell.
Moulson scored with 5:33 left in the period to put the Islanders ahead 2-1. It was his third goal in three games.
Chicago outshot New York 15-2 in the second period and led 3-2 after 40 minutes.
Smith tied it at 2 at 6:41 of the second with his first goal by lofting in a rebound of his shot after Montoya made a point-blank pad save.
Toews’ scored with 1:19 left in the second, but Parenteau’s power-play goal 46 seconds into the third tied it again.
Sharp’s power-play goal at 5:08 restored Chicago’s lead, but Niederreiter scored just under five minutes later to tie it at 4.
NOTES: Montoya, a Chicago native, faced the Blackhawks for the first time. . New York D Andrew MacDonald, second on the Islanders in ice time per game, sat out with a right leg injury and is day-to-day. His roster spot was filled by D Dylan Reese, who was recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL. . New York LW Jay Pandolfo missed his second game because of a foot injury. . The Blackhawks and Islanders play again on Thursday in New York. The teams haven’t met twice in a season since 2002-03. . Smith played in his third game after being recalled from Rockford of the AHL on Nov. 17.