Filppula scores 2, Islanders sweep back-to-back with Ottawa
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — The Islanders took both games in a home-and-home set with the league’s worst team but weren’t entirely satisfied.
Valtteri Filppula scored twice to lead New York to a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
Anthony Beauvillier and Casey Cizikas also scored for the Islanders, who moved into a first-place tie with the Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division. Thomas Greiss stopped 35 shots.
The Islanders won 5-4 in a shootout at home on Tuesday.
“I think we can play better,” Filppula said. “At the same time, we have to give them a lot of credit. They played well, played hard and hard to play against and made a lot of plays, but two wins, that’s the main thing and hopefully we can keep going and build on this.”
Brady Tkachuk and Oscar Lindberg scored for the Senators, while Anders Nilsson made 27 saves.
“I thought that was one of our most complete efforts in terms of time and players,” Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki said. “I don’t think we had any passengers out there. We were working hard and did a lot of good things, but got beat by a good hockey club.”
The Islanders were fortunate to head into the third period tied 2-2 after a dreadful second period.
“Those are periods that can’t happen, especially at this time of the year,” Cizikas said. “We want to create an identity and we want to play the way that we know how to be successful, and when we get away from that we’re an ugly team.”
The Islanders went ahead 3-2 at the 12-minute mark of the third after Ottawa’s Zack Smith looked to give the puck to Nilsson, who was unable to freeze it, and Beauvillier shoved it in for his 16th of the season.
Cizikas scored into an empty net in the final minute of regulation.
“We had a little talk between the second and third,” Cizikas said. “We weren’t happy with that second period and we wanted to come out the way that we knew how to play. I thought we did a good job of that.”
Trailing 2-1 to start the second, the Senators tied the game midway through the period as Lindberg buried a rebound past Greiss.
Lindberg, acquired from Vegas as part of the Mark Stone trade, picked up his second goal since joining Ottawa.
“I think all the guys that have come in here have sensed opportunity,” Senators interim coach Marc Crawford said. “That was a big-time goal (Lindberg) scored.”
The Senators dominated play late in the period, but were unable to get the go-ahead goal despite outshooting the Islanders 17-10 in the second.
The Islanders took a 2-1 first-period lead on Filppula’s goals.
Leo Komarov made a great pass and Filppula beat Nilsson to open the scoring at the five-minute mark.
The Senators tied it soon after as Tkachuk, with his team-leading 15th, tipped Ben Harpur’s shot.
Late in the period, Tom Kuhnhackl flung a puck from behind the net and Filppula batted it past Nilsson for his second of the night.
NOTES: The Senators lost Bobby Ryan in the third period as he appeared to injure his left hand. ... Ottawa’s Christian Jaros is day-to-day with a hamstring injury. New York’s Robin Lehner is listed day-to-day with an upper-body injury. ... Joshua Ho-Sang, Dennis Seidenberg, Luca Sbisa and Thomas Hickey were healthy scratches for the Islanders.
Islanders: Host Philadelphia on Saturday night.
Senators: At Boston on Saturday night.