CALGARY — A 5-4 shootout win over the Calgary Flames on Saturday halted a seven-game losing streak for a New York Islanders team hungry for victory.
Playing their third road game in four nights, the Isles didn't blink when the host Flames twice evened the score in the third period. Oliver Wahlstrom roofed the puck in the fourth round for the Islanders' first shootout victory this season.
"We've been through a lot, not just in this tough stretch, but over the years this group's been challenged with a lot of different things," Islanders captain Anders Lee said.
"We're comfortable in a challenging situation, facing adversity, dropping as many as we have. We've just got to fight through it. You've got to grind through it. It's a tough league. Nothing's given. That was no different tonight from our effort and the way we played.
"Didn't matter how, we needed those two (points)."
Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist for the Islanders (6-6-5), who take four points home from a four-game road trip.
Hudson Fasching, Matt Barzal and Kyle Palmieri also scored for New York, with starter Ilya Sorokin stopping 35 shots in regulation and overtime.
Bo Horvat was New York's other shootout scorer. Barzal shot wide and Palmieri was stopped by Calgary's Jacob Markstrom.
Martin Pospisil, MacKenzie Weegar, Blake Coleman and Yegor Sharangovich each scored for the Flames (6-8-3). Markstrom stopped 29 shots in the loss in front of an announced 17,167 at the Saddledome.
Sharangovich was the only successful Flame in the shootout. Jonathan Huberdeau, Rasmus Andersson and Connor Zary were denied.
"Sharangovich has a skill set. He's a shootout-type player," Flames head coach Ryan Huska said. "We don't have a ton of guys that have his skill set. We have working skill, if you want to call it, so you have to find a way to capitalize before we get to the shootout."
Calgary dropped to 0-3 in shootouts this season. The Flames led the NHL last season in overtime and shootout losses with 17 — and missed the playoffs by two points — so it's not a habit the team wants to continue in 2023-24.
"We've got to find a way to win these shootouts and OT games because they're going to be valuable points down the road," Coleman said.
"But you know, another deficit going into the third and really good response from our group and gave ourselves a chance to win down the stretch. The result isn't what you want."
Outshooting the Islanders 21-17 and trailing 3-2 after two periods, Calgary drew even on Weegar's goal at 3:12. Nelson restored the Islanders' lead just 20 seconds later, but Sharangovich knotted the score again at 13:42.
"I thought we were going to the net well," Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. "I thought we were doing a lot of the same things we've been doing. Tonight, we capitalized."
The Flames twice negated man advantages with minor penalties within seconds of an opposing player entering the box. The Flames' power play was 0-for-3 on Saturday and 0-for-16 in their last six games.
"It's slow right now, so they have to speed things up," Huska said. "You speed it up, move the puck quick, shoot the puck and get rebounds.
"Right now, we're slow and methodical so we have to make some improvements there."
The Islanders scored once on three power-play chances Saturday.
POSPISIL PROVIDES POP
Pospisil's goal was his third and his fifth point in seven games since the 24-year-old Slovak's promotion from the American Hockey League's Calgary Wranglers.
"He's got a motor," Coleman said. "He's got sneaky good hands and poise with the puck. He plays hard. He runs guys over. I love his game.
"He's something we were missing in our lineup and he's added a lot to our lineup. Another guy other teams need to be aware of on the ice."
The Islanders head home to host the Flyers on Wednesday when winger Cal Clutterback of Welland, Ont., is scheduled to play his 1,000th NHL game.
The Flames head out on a four-game road swing starting Monday in Seattle versus the Kraken.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 18, 2023.
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press