After losing four straight on the road, the Islanders take out their frustrations on the Predators.
Now that’s more like it.
After being outscored 16-6 in four-straight losses on the road, the Islanders returned home on Tuesday night and thrashed the Nashville Predators 3-1 at Nassau Coliseum behind 32 saves from backup goaltender Kevin Poulin.
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Kyle Okposo caps the scoring for the Islanders 7:07 minutes into the second period.
“We kind of fell behind the eight ball there,” Andrew MacDonald said of the road trip. “In the beginning of the year our division was struggling and we were able to stay up there and now we’re starting to struggle. It’s something you really want to put your foot on right away and stop. An opportunity to come home and have a few games in a row, you really want to take advantage of those opportunities.”
The Islanders certainly looked like a desperate hockey club, dominating the first period in nearly every way and taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. In their third power play opportunity of the frame, Frans Nielsen found a wide-open John Tavares in the slot, who faked, fired and beat Predators goaltender Marek Mazanec for the first goal of the contest at 15:30. Pierre Marc Bouchard joined the scoring party 2:23 later with a wrister near the red line that snuck through Mazanec’s short side.
The Predators threatened in Periods 2 and 3, but Poulin held his ground, turning away nearly every Nashville opportunity and denying any swings in momentum. With just 5:30 to play, Patric Hornqvist spoiled Poulin’s bid at his first career shutout with a power play goal against the Isles’ penalty kill, that entered the night as the NHL’s worst unit.
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Islanders captain John Tavares picks up a goal and an assist on the night.
Still, with 32 saves, Poulin was beyond solid. Though he has started in far fewer games (6) than the Isles typical starter Evgeni Nabokov (13), Poulin’s recent play has certainly turned some heads. Tuesday marked Poulin’s first set of consecutive starts this year.
Kyle Okposo added an insurance goal at 7:07 of the second with a sizzling one-timer from Tavares.
The Isles are now 7-1-2 when they score at least three goals. They’ll face the Kings and the Red Wings later this week at the Coliseum before heading back on the road against the Maple Leafs.