UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Despite coming back from a two-goal deficit, the Blackhawks couldn’t find a way to beat the New York Islanders and eventually fell in overtime 3-2 on a snowy Thursday night on Long Island.
The game-winning goal came 58 seconds into overtime. A shot by John Tavares was blocked and the puck found its’ way onto the stick of Kyle Okposo, who put it past the glove of Corey Crawford.
It was the seventh time in their last 11 meetings with the Isles that the Blackhawks have not come away with a win.
“We didn’t really take them off their game tonight,” Jonathan Toews said after the loss. “We let them play the way they wanted to and we gave them a lot of chances that could of ended in the back of our net. We weren’t tough enough to play against for their top players.”
However, it wasn’t one of their top players that opened up the scoring for the Islanders.
Casey Cizikas was able to force a turnover and escape on a breakaway late in the first period. After some fancy moves, the Islander forward slid it past Crawford for the 1-0 lead at 15:24. The goal came despite the Blackhawks having been the better team for most of the first period and outshooting the Isles 12-5.
Bolstered by the early lead, the Islanders continued their push, and at 8:09 Thomas Vanek found the back of the net to give the Islanders a two-goal advantage.
The Blackhawks finally jumped on the board with 1:24 left in the second period.
With the Blackhawks on the power play, Brent Seabrook fired a one-timer past Evgeni Nabokov for his fifth goal of the year and brought his team back within one goal.
It only took 1:50 into the third period for Chicago tie the game at two. Ben Smith was able to gain control of the lose puck in front of the Islander net and sneak it by Nabokov.
Crawford and Nabokov held off scoring chances and forced the game into overtime, where Okposo played hero for the Islanders and villain for the Blackhawks.
“It was a fortunate bounce for them,” Crawford said about the game-winning goal. “It bounced right over to [Okposo], right on his stick. It was a good play by our D-men, it was just an unfortunate bounce to go right back to them.”
In his first start since Dec. 8 Crawford mad 31 saves.
The Blackhawks did come away from Thursday night’s game with one point in the standing. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was quick to give his guys some credit for coming back from two-goals down.
“Coming back down 2-0 on the road, they’re playing well,” he said during his post-game meeting with the press. “Gotta give them some credit there the way they played. They attacked, the got some quickness and some speed and they make plays. It was nice to get it to overtime, but it didn’t last very long.”
Toews was some what comforted by the fact that his team managed to come away with a point, but wasn’t satisfied with it.
“We’re never going to be satisfied with one point,” Toews said. “If we get that far we know we’re very clos to being able to get the second point. All in all I don’t think it was a complete effort tonight. We were a little bit sloppy in our own zone and we have to do better tomorrow night."