The Islanders defeated the Blackhawks 3-2, which is the same score that they beat Chicago during their last visit to Nassau Coliseum during the 2013-14 season. Even more coincidental is the fact that, like last year's battle at the Coliseum, Kyle Okposo played a big role in an Islanders' comeback.
Okposo's power play goal at 10:10 of the third period tied the game up at two, which set up Lubomir Visnovsky to play hero 51 seconds later.
"It's a great challenge. They're one of the best teams in the league," Okposo said about playing the Blackhawks. "We want to show that we can play with those teams and this year we've had a pretty good stretch there. Then hit a little bump in the road. Tonight we're playing arguably the best team in the league and we want to come out and have a better effort at home.
"We were able to do that."
Saturday's win over Chicago snapped a three-game losing streak that saw the Islanders lose to the St. Louis Blues twice and fall to the Minnesota Wild. The Isles also squandered three-goal leads in two of those games.
The Islanders played well against one of the best teams in the NHL. After playing a decent first period, New York came out flying in the second period, outshooting the Blackhawks 17-7 and holding a 9-0 advantage in shots through the first 11:28 of the second period.
New York ended up outshooting the visitors 33-15 in the second and third period combined.
The Blackhawks ended up taking the lead twice on Saturday night, but each time the Islanders had an answer. First there was Cal Clutterbuck scoring six seconds after Daniel Carcillo gave Chicago the 1-0 lead in the second period. Then there was Okposo's power play goal to tie the game once again in the third.
"This was a big game for us," Matt Martin said afterwards. After dropping three in a row -- two of which we gave away -- we really responded well tonight. A big part of that was the crowd and the atmosphere. It drives us forward."
The Isles understood the importance of Saturday's win. Losing three games in a row is never good and in the fashion they did it stings even more.
When Capuano was asked after the game if this was the biggest win of the year, he responded, "it's close."
"I thought our guys against a good hockey team really rose to the occasion," he added.
The last time the Islanders went through a three-game losing streak, they went on to win their next five games and went on to have their best november in at least three years.