OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — The New York Islanders can finally exhale after snapping an 11-game losing streak.
Anders Lee had two goals and the Islanders ended a prolonged skid with a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
“I think it’s just a sense of relief," Lee said. “It’s been a tough stretch.”
Oliver Wahlstrom, Kieffer Bellows and Jean-Gabriel Pageau also scored for New York, which last won on Nov. 6. Ilya Sorokin stopped 30 shots.
“We stuck together and we started to build on our game a little bit the last few nights, but we hadn’t been able to get that extra point in overtime,” Lee said. “It starts to wear on you quite a bit. So, for us to come out tonight and get the win that we needed, play the right way for good stretches of time, it’s exactly what we needed out of our group.”
Josh Norris, Nick Holden and Alex Formenton scored for Ottawa, which had its three-game winning streak halted. Filip Gustavsson made 22 saves in losing his fourth consecutive start.
Ottawa was coming off a 3-2 shootout win over New Jersey on Monday night, and seemed to run out of steam after a stretch of five games in seven nights.
“We just didn’t have the same sharpness with our execution tonight,” head coach D.J. Smith said. “I wouldn’t say that it was the effort, we just weren’t playing as smart. You know, we had some chances and we didn’t put it in. We didn’t break out as good. You know, at the end of the day, you don’t get the result you wanted.”
The Islanders extended their lead to 4-1 at the six-minute mark of the third period as Bellows shot over Gustavsson. Ottawa cut the lead in half two minutes later as Holden scored his first of the season.
Pageau scored his third of the season at the 12-minute mark of the third, taking advantage of some confusion in front of the Seantors’ net.
Formenton picked up his fifth of the season with a short-handed goal to round out the scoring.
After a scoreless first period, the Islanders led 3-1 after the second.
Lee opened the scoring three minutes into the second, picking up his own rebound and backhanding it into the net.
Ottawa tied the game on a power play goal by Norris.
Wahlstrom restored the Islanders’ lead, beating Gustavsson on the short side at 14:06 of the period. Just 27 seconds later, Lee scored his second of the game as he picked up a puck that took a weird bounce off the back boards and beat Gustavsson from in close.
The Islanders felt as if they were due after having lost two games in overtime and one in a shootout.
“It feels good,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “I mean, it’s incredible to think about what we’ve gone through in the last month. I’ve never gone through it. These guys have never gone through it. The way we just stuck together and battled.
“I’ve got to give them a lot of credit. Finally, they got rewarded. It felt good. It felt good to have a little life in the dressing room after the game. Music blaring and guys ribbing each other.”
NOTES: Senators defenSemen Victor Mete and Michael Del Zotto and forward Adam Gaudette were healthy scratches. The Islanders' Matt Martin was a scratch as he is dealing with a lingering injury. Casey Cizikas remains the Islanders last player in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
Islanders: Host Nashville on Thursday.
Senators: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday in the second game of a five-game homestand.
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