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New York Islanders

Palmieri Scores OT Winner, Islanders Knocking On Door Of Playoffs



AP Photo/Seth Wenig

ELMONT, NY– The New York Islanders played from behind for almost the entire night on Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens at UBS Arena. It wasn’t until Kyle Palmieri scored at 1:17 of overtime that the Islanders finally took the lead, earning their sixth consecutive win, which tied their longest streak of the season.

“It’s not necessarily what we would like to do, but one thing I’m proud of is that guys competed,” said Islanders head coach Patrick Roy. “They were engaged, and they wanted to win this game. It was nice to be rewarded with that goal in overtime.”

With extra space on the ice at three-on-three in overtime, Palmieri had plenty of room to operate while he collected a pass from Brock Nelson at the right faceoff circle before tucking a sharp-angle shot just under the crossbar for his 28th goal of the season.

Twice did the Islanders have the chance to take the lead on the man advantage in the third period, only to come up empty-handed.

With the score tied 1-1, the final frame of regulation began with a 1:50 of power play time for the Islanders as Michael Pezzetta served a minor penalty for boarding. The opportunity came and went, but the Islanders were gifted another power play when Johnathan Kovacevic was called for a delay of game with 7:16 left to play. Still, the Islanders failed to convert as they finished the game 0-4 on the power play.

“We didn’t do a great job [on the power play],” Palmieri said. “Credit to [Montreal]. They got their clears. They found a way to make sure that the puck was getting down, and we had to go 200 feet to get back in the zone. It’s definitely something that we can execute a little better.”

It also didn’t help that the Islanders played a majority of the night without top defenseman Noah Dobson, who exited the game with an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return.

It was at the end of the first that the Islanders found themselves trailing 1-0. Stuck in their own end on a long defensive zone shift, they were too slow to keep up as Montreal cycled the puck back to Jordan Harris at the blue line, where he rifled a slapshot past a screened Semyon Varlamov for his third goal of the season.

Pierre Engvall came up with the equalizer at 5:17 of the second period. With assists from Adam Pelech and Mike Reilly, Engvall threw a wrist shot from the high slot that beat Montreal goalie Sam Montembeault for his 10th goal of the year.

“He had a good game,” Roy said of Engvall. “He was more heavy on pucks and that’s what we’ve been asking for from him… I loved his compete today. His compete was good and that’s what we need from him.”

Montreal took the lead again when Cole Caulfield snuck a shot through Varlamov’s legs at 3:42 of the third, only for Casey Cizikas to answer back for the Islanders less than three minutes later with his ninth goal of the season.

Despite facing just 14 shots, Varlamov kept the Islanders within striking distance by making 12 key saves.

“It was a tough game for a goalie because you don’t have that many shots,” said Roy. “When they come, they’re quality shots. Varley is in the zone right now. He’s big out there, he’s square and he’s tough to beat. He gave us a chance to stay in that game and win that hockey game.”

By beating Montreal, the Islanders improved their record to 37-27-15. They now sit at 89  points as they inch closer and closer to a playoff berth with three games left on their regular season schedule.

The Islanders will face the New York Rangers at 12:30 p.m. EST at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.