Senators outlast Islanders with 6-5 win
NEW YORK — Ottawa Senators backup goalie Mike Condon felt a surge of adrenaline as he entered Friday night’s game in the second period. But it was nothing compared to what he’d feel about 75 minutes later.
Condon, who stopped all 19 shots he faced in relief of Craig Anderson Friday night, survived a furious rally by the New York Islanders in the waning seconds as the Senators stopped a seven-game losing streak with a wild 6-5 win over the host Islanders at Barclays Center.
“You warm up and you come back in here and you sit for an hour-and-a-half, your nervous system kind of slows down a little bit,” said Condon, who entered after Anderson allowed five goals on 18 shots in the first 24 minutes.
“You get back in there, everything gets jacked up pretty high, pretty quick with all the adrenaline. It’s just about telling yourself make that first save and all of it will fall into place. That’s what I told myself and it worked out tonight.”
It worked out after a frantic final 89 seconds in which the Islanders, playing with the extra skater after pulling goalie Jaroslav Halak, dominated play in the Senators zone and poured pucks on the net. Condon was officially credited with three saves in the final 45 seconds, including a kick save of a shot by Jordan Eberle as time expired.
“They pressured pretty hard, had a couple good opportunities in front,” Condon said. “I was breathing heavy and just competing. That’s the most pure sport part, when it’s just chaos and you’re just competing and battling.”
The final stand by Condon capped a frantic back-and-forth game that featured four ties and two lead changes and allowed the Senators (9-9-6) to exchange handshakes for the first time in nearly three weeks.
The 0-6-1 skid for Ottawa — which hadn’t won since Nov. 11 — was the franchise’s longest losing streak since an 0-6-1 stretch in January and February 2012.
“Little scary at the end, Condon stood tall,” said Senators center Ryan Dzingel, who scored Ottawa’s first goal and produced the game-winner just 1:38 into the third period. “Finally good to get a win. Everyone’s been really positive.”
Zack Smith, Bobby Ryan, Thomas Chabot and Mike Hoffman also scored for the Senators, who were outscored 23-9 during the losing streak.
“I think this was coming, but it just didn’t happen today — this is something the guys have built the last three games and now they deserve it,” head coach Guy Boucher said of the Senators, whose previous two losses were both 2-1 affairs.
Anders Lee scored twice while Anthony Beauvillier, Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera scored for the Islanders (15-8-2), who had a four-game winning streak snapped. New York fell behind 2-0 in the first and took leads of 4-3 and 5-4 in the second before ultimately becoming only the fifth team this season to score five goals in a loss.
“Everything was going in, almost felt bad for both goalies — it was just pucks with eyes,” Islanders head coach Doug Weight said. “For whatever reason, we kind of got back into it.”
Greiss was pulled after allowing Hoffman’s goal — the fifth goal he allowed in 20 shots. Halak took the hard-luck loss after making 14 saves.
The defeat also marked the first home regulation loss of the season for the Islanders. New York’s 8-0-2 start at Barclays Center was its best home start since the overtime loss was instituted in 1999-2000.
“It stings, but it’s almost a good learning tool,” Weight said. “You’ve got a team that’s desperate, they’re going to come out hard. But when we took that lead back twice, you’ve got to go for the throat.”
NOTES: The Islanders scratched C Casey Cizikas (lower body) as well as D Thomas Hickey and D Scott Mayfield. ... The Senators scratched D Ben Harpur. ... Islanders G Jaroslav Halak and Senators G Mike Condon each entered in relief for the second time this season. ... Senators G Craig Anderson allowed at least five goals for the fourth time this season while Islanders G Thomas Greiss surrendered at least five goals for the third time. ... The New York Rangers (Oct. 7), Philadelphia Flyers (Oct. 10), Florida Panthers (Oct. 30) and Chicago Blackhawks (Nov. 11) also scored five goals in a loss this season.