The Islanders found themselves short-handed early on when both Adam Pelech and Sebastian Aho were injured after playing just two shifts, leaving New York to play the remainder of the game down two defensemen.
“That was an incredible effort,” said Islanders coach Lane Lambert. “We knew real early in the game what we were up against. … I thought they did a good job of making sure they kept their shift as short as possible and I just thought it was an incredible effort by the four of them.
“I’ve never experienced that before where we’ve been down to four ‘D’ for pretty much the entire game.”
“You have to forecheck, you have to take the walls away,” said Senators coach D.J. Smith. “We did it for a stretch in the second period, but not enough and when we made mistakes, it ended up in the net."
The Islanders took a two-goal lead early in the third on Holmstrom’s goal, which went off Ottawa’s Vladimir Tarasenko.
A wild second period saw the teams combine for five goals.
The Senators appeared to take a 2-1 lead at the six-minute mark of the second, but it was called off for being offside. Wahlstrom scored almost immediately for New York to take the lead.
The Islanders then went on to score a pair of goals in a span of six seconds. Barzal beat Forsberg with a wrist shot on the power play and off the ensuing faceoff the Islanders took control and Lee scored to give New York a 4-1 lead.
“It was a lot of minutes for everyone,” said Noah Dobson, who played a team-high 31 minutes and five seconds. “I think as a group everyone was aware and the forwards did a good job helping us out getting back and then we needed (Varlamov) to make some big saves and he did that.”
The Senators replied with a pair of goals of their own scored 47 seconds apart on nearly identical plays.
Mathieu Joseph won a battle for the puck along the back boards and put it out front to Stutzle.
Joseph then won another battle and put the puck to the front of the net, where Stutzle made a little bump pass to Batherson for his second of the night.
Despite the strange turn of events, Stutzle thought his team would prevail.
“I was 100% confident we were going to win that game,” he said. “There was never a doubt in my mind.
“Give credit to their goalie, he made some huge saves.”
The Senators opened the scoring midway through the first period with a power-play goal from Batherson, but the Islanders tied things just over three minutes later when Palmieri won the battle for a rebound in front.
Islanders: Host Philadelphia on Saturday night.
Senators: Wrap a six-game homestand against Florida on Monday night.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl
- Ghislain Hebert
- Morgan MacPhee
- Steve Barton
- Andrew Smith