Filppula lifts surging Islanders past Blues 2-1 in OT
NEW YORK (AP) — Even when they aren’t playing great, the New York Islanders are managing to keep winning.
Valtteri Filppula scored 1:37 into overtime and the Islanders beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 Tuesday night for their 12th win in 15 games.
“When we needed a big play, a block or a save, we had that,” New York coach Barry Trotz said. “And that allows us to survive those moments when we’re not at our best.”
Jordan Eberle had a goal in the first period for New York, and Robin Lehner stopped 30 shots.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way,” Eberle said. ”(Lehner) was the reason we won tonight. He was seeing the puck well. He made a lot of big saves, kept us in it.”
David Perron scored the tying goal in the third period for the Blues, and Jordan Binnington — making his fourth straight start and fourth of his career — finished with 23 saves. St. Louis had won three straight and five of its previous seven.
“We fought back, it was a tight game,” St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of playmaking on either side ... Those are the ones we just got to get points right now.”
On the winner, Filppula jumped on the ice on a line change, got a pass from Mathew Barzal and skated in on Binnington before beating him from the right side for his 10th.
“It was a good (line) change, we got a 2-on-1 right away and just thought I’d try to shoot it,” Filppula said. “I was happy to see the puck go in.”
Perron tied it at 6:07 of the third as he got a pass from Ryan O’Reilly from behind the net, and put it past Lehner for his team-leading 17th. It extended Perron’s career-high point streak to 12 games, giving him six goals and 15 assists in the stretch.
“It was good to put one in and get a point out of it,” Perron said.
Trailing 1-0, the Blues picked up their intensity in the second period, outshooting the Islanders 18-7.
Lehner, who had won a career-best eight straight before taking the loss in a 2-1 defeat to the New York Rangers on Saturday, was stellar in keeping St. Louis off the scoreboard. He stopped an attempt by O’Reilly from the left side 1½ minutes in and denied Jaden Schwartz in front four minutes later. Lehner then gloved Oskar Sundqvist’s shot from the left circle three minutes later and a tip by Schwartz shortly after.
Sundqvist was thwarted on consecutive attempts in front with just over eight minutes remaining, and Lehner gloved a shot by Vladimir Tarasenko from between the circles 30 seconds later.
“We’re playing as a team, we’re playing for each other,” Lehner said. “Everyone throws themselves in, everyone tries to get in front of the puck, everyone does everything they can. That’s what we got to keep on doing.”
Binnington stopped a tip by Islanders rookie Devon Toews with a little more than two minutes to go in the second to keep it a one-goal game.
St. Louis, outshot 11-5 in the first period, didn’t get its first shot on goal until 7:47 in, when Lehner stopped a tip try by Zach Sanford from between the circles.
The Islanders got on the scoreboard about a minute later, seconds after Anders Lee hit a goalpost and the puck ended up in the netting on the outside. After a faceoff to Binnington’s left, Eberle got the rebound of Lee’s attempt on the right doorstep and lifted it in up high for his 10th of the season and 200th of his career at 8:43.
″(Lee) made a great play, caused a little confusion in front and I was just able to find the rebound,” Eberle said.
St. Louis coach Craig Berube challenged for goalie interference on the play, but the goal stood after a video review.
NOTES: Sundqvist was helped off the ice less than three minutes into the game after he was accidentally hit in the head by an official’s elbow. He returned to the ice in the closing minutes of the opening period. ... O’Reilly has 10 assists and 13 points in his last 11 games. ... The Islanders are 6-1-1 in the last eight against the Blues, including a 4-3 win at St. Louis on Jan. 5. ... New York improved to 19-1-3 when leading after two periods. ... Eberle has three goals in his last six games. ... Lee has six assists and eight points in his last seven games.
Blues: At Boston on Thursday night to finish a four-game trip.
Islanders: Host New Jersey on Thursday night at the Nassau Coliseum.
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