RECAP: Tavares’ OT goal lifts Isles over Ducks, 3-2
John Tavares scored his second goal on a power play 2:18 into overtime, and the New York Islanders snapped their three-game skid with a 3-2 victory over the injury-depleted Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.
Kyle Okposo also scored and Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves for the Islanders, who blew an early two-goal lead in their third stop on a five-game trip.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf and NHL goals leader Corey Perry were sent home before the game with the flu, leaving the league-leading Ducks to open a four-game homestand without their two best players.
After Sami Vatanen was sent off for elbowing in the Ducks’ offensive zone, Tavares’ long shot deflected off an Anaheim defender and past Jason LaBarbera for his sixth goal of the season.
LaBarbera stopped 32 shots in his second appearance for Anaheim. Matt Beleskey and Emerson Etem scored second-period goals for the Ducks, who had won 10 of 12.
Getzlaf and Perry have been staples in the Ducks’ lineup since the 2005-06 season. They hadn’t missed the same game due to injury since March 28, 2008, a span of 471 regular-season games and 45 playoff contests, although they were healthy scratches together in last season’s finale.
LaBarbera is filling in while the Ducks’ top two goalies are slowed by injuries. Frederik Andersen was healthy enough to be a backup after missing Anaheim’s last game with leg tightness, but John Gibson will be sidelined by a groin injury for six weeks.
Tavares put the Islanders ahead just 3:38 in, collecting Calvin de Haan’s rebound and banking it off LaBarbera. New York scored again 10 seconds into the second period on a power play, with Okposo’s shot changing direction on its way in.
But Beleskey trimmed the lead with a power-play goal set up by tic-tac-toe passing. Anaheim tilted the ice remarkably in its favor in the second period, recording 11 consecutive shots at one point before Etem evened it with a low shot through Devante Smith-Pelly’s legs.
Anaheim nearly took the lead early in the third when Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic slid into the New York net with the puck, but a lengthy video replay determined it never crossed the line.
NOTES: New York hasn’t allowed fewer than two goals in any game this season. .. Islanders forward Casey Cizikas was scratched for the first time this season after 11 scoreless games. Eric Boulton made his season debut. Defenseman Brian Strait also was scratched for the second straight game. … Anaheim has excelled this season despite serious injury problems. Kyle Palmieri and Bryan Allen haven’t played, while Gibson and Ben Lovejoy are out with long-term problems. … Brock Nelson punched the puck out of mid-air and past LaBarbera moments after Okposo’s goal, but it was waved off.