The Ducks needed it. The Islanders wanted it just as bad. In the end, the win went to determination and will in a 5-4 overtime victory.
For a while, it seemed as if the focus of the Ducks was “help Teemu Selanne get #600,” rather than “let’s win the game and who cares who scores.” New York had absolutely no desire to be a footnote in Selanne’s milestone.
Richard Park put the Islanders on the board at 9:53 of the first period, but the Ducks answered right back with a goal from Matt Beleskey just :17 seconds later.
Lubomir Visnovsky, continuing to prove his worth since being acquired from Edmonton at the trade deadline, added another goal at 18:09, with an assist from Selanne. The Ducks were rewarded after having an exceptionally long shift in New York’s end.
The Ducks did not have the lead for long as Kyle Okposo got the first of two goals in the game with less than minute to go in the period. His shot from behind the net bounced off of Visnovsky, who was in front of Jonas Hiller, and deflected into the net.
Okposo gave the Islanders the lead back :07 seconds into their first power play. The puck trickled through Hiller’s legs at 2:42. John Tavares was there at the side of the net waiting for a rebound, but it wasn’t needed. Coach Randy Carlyle pulled Hiller at that point and inserted Curtis McElhinney to shake things up.
Tavares made it 4-2 on the Islanders’ second power play at 14:31 late in the period. They took that lead going into the third, but historically the Islanders have not been great defensively in the final 20 minutes of games.
The Ducks got a power play goal at 9:53 from Jason Blake, who tipped in Steve Eminger’s shot from the blue line. It was the first power play goal for the Ducks since March 7 against Montreal, having gone 0 for seemingly far too many. Perhaps they would have scored one sooner if they hadn’t been so focused on passing the puck to Teemu as often as possible rather than just shooting it.
After an especially flat and frustrating first 40 minutes, the Ducks finally figured it out in the third. They outshot the Islanders 14 – 2 in the final frame and while it took a while, they were rewarded for their efforts.
Visnovsky did it again with the game-tying goal at 19:28. Again, the assist came from Selanne. McElhinney was pulled for the extra attacker and Visnovsky did the seemingly impossibly by putting the puck past Martin Biron with his wicked shot from the blue line. It was Visnovsky’s first multi-goal game since December 29, 2006 with LA.
The Ducks wasted no time in overtime. Saku Koivu picked up a turnover from Bruno Gervais and you just knew his breakaway attempt was going to go in the net. It only took :14 for the Ducks to get the win and the much needed two points in the standings.
The Ducks have moved up two spots to 11th place and are now just seven points out of a playoff spot.
In other notes: Ryan Getzlaf returned to the line-up after missing one game with a re-injured ankle.