EDMONTON â€” The New York Islanders’ absence from the playoff picture only lasted a couple of hours.
Anders Lee scored a pair of goals as the Islanders gained some valuable points with a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. The win moved them back one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who beat Detroit 3-2 earlier on the night, for the final wild-card playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
“We were really good tonight,” Lee said. “They’re still going to get a lot of opportunities, but I think we limited them as much as possible and played a tight-knit game and you have to do that as much as possible in a building like this with their team. I think all four of our lines were going pretty well tonight.”
Joshua Ho-Sang, with his first career NHL goal, and Andrew Ladd also scored for the Islanders (31-23-11), who snapped a two-game losing skid.
Zack Kassian replied for the Oilers (35-23-8), who had a two-game winning streak snapped.
“Some mental mistakes cost us today,” said Oilers forward Milan Lucic. “You have to be sharp, especially at this time of the year. It’s a little wakeup call as to what the last 16 games are going to be like. It sucks to lose. We weren’t sharp and the mental part of our game wasn’t fully there. We have to learn from this, get better and turn the page, because it gets tougher from here on out.”
The Islanders kicked off the scoring with 2:37 left in the first period as Ho-Sang scored on a power-play blast from the point that beat Oilers goalie Cam Talbot up high.
“It’s really nice, there are no words to describe it,” Ho-Sang said of his first goal. “It’s such a relief to score and it makes you feel like you belong and things are possible and you know all your dreams are coming true in front of your eyes, which is cool. For me, it was a very special moment.”
Edmonton tied it up three minutes into the second period as Kassian tipped a Matt Benning point shot past Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss, his second goal in as many games.
New York regained the lead midway through the second period as Lee picked up a loose rebound in the crease and slid home his 24th goal of the season.
The Islanders made it 3-1 seven minutes into the third frame as Brock Nelson put in some great work to send a backhand pass in front to Ladd for an easy tap-in. It was Ladd’s sixth goal in the last 10 games.
Lee scored an empty-netter to put the game away.
Greiss stopped 27 shots while Talbot made 23 saves.
The Islanders return to action on Thursday in Vancouver, while Edmonton plays the third game of an eight-game homestand on Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Notes: It was the second and final meeting between the two teams this season. Edmonton won the first contest 4-3 in a shootout in Brooklyn in Novemberâ€¦ The Islanders came into the game with six straight losses in Edmonton dating back to March 13, 2003. Current Islanders GM Garth Snow was the winning goalie for New York in that gameâ€¦ New York defenceman and Edmonton native Johnny Boychuk missed his second straight game with a foot injuryâ€¦ With 55 points, Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl is just four points back of tying Marco Sturm for the most points by a German-born player in one season.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press