Thomas Hickey’s OT goal helps New York Islanders stay strong vs Calgary Flames
The New York Islanders have found their footing in Brooklyn once again, and the road-weary Calgary Flames don’t feel too bad about Monday night’s result, either.
Thomas Hickey scored 1:53 into overtime, helping the Islanders rebound from a vexing West Coast trip with a 2-1 win over the Flames.
Hickey won it after Flames forward Michael Frolik broke a stick in the defensive end, leading to an awkward line change for Calgary. Islanders captain John Tavares wheeled around the zone with the Flames momentarily short-handed before backhanding a shot that Hickey tipped off goalie Brian Elliott and in.
“I was glad to get a stick on it in overtime,” Hickey said. “This was a game we had to have.”
New York improved to 3-1-0 in home games following a road loss by relieving frustration from a wild swing through California. They beat Anaheim in a 14-round shootout but then lost twice on goals in the final 3 minutes of regulation against Los Angeles and San Jose.
Last-place New York is just 1-6-1 on the road but remains respectable in Brooklyn, improving to 6-4-3 at Barclays Center.
Tavares also scored in the first period and has six goals and 11 assists this season. The goal was his first in 10 games.
“I have a lot of expectations,” Tavares said. “I have to make plays and produce. And lead by example.”
Thomas Greiss stopped 25 shots for the Islanders, standing tall during a barrage late in the second period before allowing Sean Monahan’s tying goal 5:51 into the third. Monahan scored on a one-timer from the left circle.
Elliott was mostly solid with 25 saves but still lost his seventh straight start. He was acquired from St. Louis over the summer to be Calgary’s primary goalie but had sat three straight games in favour of journeyman Chad Johnson.
Elliott had a few pivotal saves late, including when he stopped Shane Prince on a breakaway midway through the third.
“The guy works so hard and cares so much,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said. “So for him to have a big night for us and come and bounce back and play that well was nice to see.”
Monahan’s goal helped Calgary complete a grueling six-game, nine-day trip 3-2-1.
“I think anytime you’re over .500 on a long one it’s successful,” Giordano said, adding, “I think we can build off of getting a point there.”
The Flames fought fatigue in a 5-2 loss to the Flyers on Sunday and didn’t show much life early in this one, either. Both teams flailed at the start, with each getting one shot on goal in the first 5 minutes. Calgary finished with just four shots in the first period.
Josh Bailey and Tavares teamed up for a 1-0 lead 7:28 in. Bailey rushed into the middle of the zone, turned left in the high slot, and then delivered a no-look, backhand pass for Tavares, who shot over Elliott’s shoulder from the right side.
The goal started a strong stretch by New York, and the Islanders had a few near misses later in the first, including a shot off the post from Cal Clutterbuck with about six minutes left.
Calgary made a push in the second period but got stalled by solid goaltending. Greiss gloved Michael Ferland’s shot on a rush and got his pad on a chance by Sam Bennett around the midpoint of the period. Later, he stopped Matt Stajan on a breakaway and Alex Chiasson on a heavy one-timer about 15 seconds apart.
The Islanders have won five straight over the Flames and improved to 17-1-3 against Western Conference foes at Barclays Center.
Islanders D Adam Pelech exited late in the second period and did not return because of an upper-body injury. … The Flames have scored two goals or fewer in 13 of their past 16 games. … Calgary F Johnny Gaudreau missed his eighth straight game with a broken finger. The Flames were also without Ladislav Smid (neck) and Lance Bouma (shoulder). … The Islanders made Ryan Strome and Scott Mayfield healthy scratches and also sat Ryan Pulock (lower-body injury) and Dennis Seidenberg (upper-body injury).
Flames: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night to begin a three-game homestand.
Islanders: Host the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday for the second time in two weeks. Pittsburgh won the first matchup 3-2 in overtime.