The New York Islanders heeded the call of coach Jack Capuano to put more pucks on the net.
They did it more than they had all season, and needed every last one of them to escape with a shootout victory over the Ottawa Senators.
The Islanders fired 54 shots through overtime, and skated off with a 5-4 win Friday night when Frans Nielsen scored the lone goal in the shootout.
"I’m sure it’s going to make our coach feel good," captain John Tavares said. "He’s always talking about getting a lot of pucks to the net and shots.
"I think what’s important is that we got the `W’ and we got the 5-4 win. If it’s the other way around and lose in the shootout and we had that many shots it can be a little frustrating, but this is something to build on and carry over to the next game."
Nielsen scored the tying goal in the third period and then netted the shootout winner. He moved in on goalie Robin Lehner and put a backhand in on his team’s second and last shot of the tiebreaker.
The Islanders (5-5-3), who won for the third time in 10 games, also had goals from Matt Martin, Tavares and Pierre-Marc Bouchard in regulation. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 27 shots for New York, which erased a pair of two-goal deficits.
"It thought we played well, and I thought structurally we were good," Capuano said. "You want to get rewarded when you play well, and the guys’ work ethic is where it needs to be.
"We were resilient. When we play the way we know how to play we have success. Now we have to respond against a good (Boston) Bruins team (Saturday) night."
Erik Condra, Bobby Ryan, Mika Zibanejad and Clarke MacArthur scored for the Senators (4-6-3). Lehner made the biggest contribution with 53 saves, including one against Thomas Vanek on a breakaway in overtime.
MacArthur’s goal was his first since he signed with the Senators as a free agent in July. Ryan, acquired from Anaheim the same day MacArthur signed, posted his 300th and 301st career points.
Senators coach Paul MacLean tried to find the positives after his team lost its fourth straight and fifth in six games.
"When things aren’t going your way and going real bad, sometimes you feel like you’re getting pummeled and pummeled and pummeled," he said. "I thought tonight we had some guys dig in,
"At the end of the day we found a way to get something out of the game, and the guys started digging in. Anytime you’re in a tug of war, you can’t start pulling back until you dig in and stop the other side from pulling."
Ottawa took a 4-3 lead into the second intermission after a frantic finish to the period, in which two Senators were in the penalty box for the final 55 seconds.
At the start of the third, the Islanders still had 57 seconds left on their 5-on-3 power play, and they had clean ice to skate on, but they were unable to score.
However, New York got even 4-4 at 3:14 on Nielsen’s goal.
There were a total of five goals in the second period as the Islanders scored twice in 28 seconds to tie the game 2-2 before the Senators rebounded to grab a 4-2 lead.
Tavares had an empty net to deposit the puck into after a blind pass from Vanek found him alone in front. At 9:35 of the period, Martin tied it when he tipped a point shot from former Senators player Matt Carkner past Lehner.
The Senators responded with goals from Ryan and MacArthur at 12:34 and 14:47.
With the teams playing 4 on 4 following a pair of minor penalties, Bouchard put a rebound past Lehner from a sharp angle to pull New York back to within a goal.
Zack Smith was the Ottawa player in the box at the time. Thirty seconds after Bouchard’s goal, Smith emerged from the penalty box but barely made it 10 feet before being penalized for interference 3 seconds after his first infraction ended.
Just 7 seconds later, Jared Cowen was called for holding, setting up the Islanders’ 5-on-3 advantage.
Ottawa took a 2-0 lead in the first on goals by Condra, with his first of the season, and Zibanejad. Condra left the game in the second period because of a muscle strain in his leg and didn’t return.
NOTES: Derek Grant’s first-period assist was his first NHL point in 11 career games, all with the Senators. … Vanek played in his 600th NHL game and second with the New York Islanders. He earned his first point with his new team after recording 497 in 598 games with Buffalo. … Matt Kassian and Joe Corvo were scratched for the Senators. Colin McDonald, Eric Boulton and Brian Strait didn’t dress for the Islanders.