On Saturday, a timely power play goal by Kyle Okposo evened the score at two between the Chicago Blackhawks and Islanders. On Monday, with the Islanders and New Jersey Devils tied at two, the penalty kill unit killed off a retaliatory slashing penalty called on John Tavares at 18:11 in the third period.
It allowed the Islanders to get to overtime and eventually beat the Devils 3-2 in the shootout.
"I owe those guys dinner," Tavares said after the game. "They picked me up for sure. Heck of a job. I know at times [the penalty kill] hasn't been great, but they've certainly stepped up at big points in this season. That's really made a big difference for us."
The Islanders watched as the Devils played a spirited 20 minutes and score twice on 12 shots before they kicked into gear on Monday.
Josh Bailey scored the Islanders first goal of the night 1:51 into the second period off a great pass from Ryan Strome behind the net. The home team carried the momentum outshooting the Devils 11-7 in the second period and 13-7 in the third.
Matt Martin's shot from the face-off circle with 9:15 left in the game tied the score at two. A five round shootout allowed Bailey,who was 4-for-11 in the shootout in his career, to be the hero. He snuck a shot through Scott Kinkaid's legs and Jaroslav Halak stopped Jacob Josefson's attempt to secure the win.
"I think we're comfortable in any situation," Tavares explained after the game. "We've been playing a lot of hockey games lately and we came out a little sluggish. They came out with some jump. We just stayed with it, it got better as the game went on and did some good things. Guys stepped up big time and got some big goals for us."
The Islanders penalty kill has struggled and failed to keep the Devils off the board in the first period, but stepped up when Tavares's ill-advised penalty late in the game.
"It was huge at the end," Islander Head Coach Jack Cauano said. "We did a good job. We changed it up a little bit. We pressured down ice, we tried to eliminate the first eight seconds of their zone time... I thought we did a good job in the zone. They used their timeout on that icing, so we wanted to just keep it going there."
The victory helped the Islanders keep their perfect record after regulation. The team is 9-0 when games go past 60 minutes, with six of those wins coming in the shootout.
The five round shootout was the first time since the Isles first shootout win against San Jose in October that they have had to go past the first three rounds. Kyle Okposo, who scored in the second round, credits the team's confidence for their success in the skills competition.
"We're obviously hoping to not get to that point and win it in overtime or regulation, but if it does come to that we feel like we can squeak one out," he said.