GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet praised center Nick Cousins after, not just for his game-winning goal against the New York Islanders but also for his improved overall play.
Cousins scored his second goal of the game 2:21 into overtime to lift the Coyotes to a 3-2 win over the Islanders on Monday night.
“I’ve got to give him a lot of credit,” Tocchet said. “He’s done really well. I’ve sat him out this year. He’s worked on his game. He’s always got a smile on his face coming to work to practice. He’s worked on his game and he’s starting to reap the benefits.”
Cousins added an assist and the Coyotes ran their points streak to five games, a season high. Arizona has points from seven of eight games, with six of those going to overtime. Brendan Perlini scored for the third time in three games and Antti Raanta stopped 32 shots.
“One thing we’ve got to do is we’ve got to expect to win,” Tocchet said. “I hate hoping, I want expecting.”
Anthony Beauvillier had his second straight two-goal game for the Islanders, who have lost three of four and eight of 12. Beauvillier has eight goals in the last seven games. Jaroslav Halak finished with 30 saves.
The winning play started with a key save from Raanta that led to a Coyotes rush. Cousins passed to Christian Fischer, then skated to the front of the net for Fischer’s pinpoint pass and put away the winner with a backhand for his seventh of the season and first-ever overtime goal.
“I think since we turned the page here in 2018 we have all four lines contributing,” Cousins said. “It’s been fun coming to the rink, right?”
“Overtime is a crapshoot,” Islanders coach Doug Weight said. “We had four or five great opportunities.”
Arizona was largely in command in the first period with a goal from 12 shots. Cousins flipped in a backhand off the rebound from teammate Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s shot with 7:40 left in opening period.
The Islanders, with 27 goals in their previous six games, went 10:31 before their first shot and needed a few saves from Halak to keep from trailing by more than a goal. It marked the longest the Coyotes had gone to start a game this season without allowing a shot.
It took the Islanders 34 seconds into the second period to tie the score. Beauvillier followed his own saved shot by knocking in the rebound off Raanta.
“We played a strong game but just couldn’t capitalize on the chances we had,” Beauvillier said. “It’s just disappointing to leave here with one point.”
After the Islanders successfully killed a penalty, Perlini positioned himself in front of Halak to deflect Luke Schenn’s shot past Halak for a 2-1 Coyotes lead midway through the second.
“It was not bad ... I’m trying to get better at that part of my game,” Perlini said of being around the net for tip-ins.
Perlini’s 13 goals are tied for second on the Coyotes this season. His goal gave the Coyotes 62 of their 116 total goals this season scored by a player 22 years old or younger.
Beauvillier scored his 12th goal of the season on the rebound of teammate Thomas Hickey’s shot, tying it at 2 at 2:53 of the third.
“Everybody’s following the game plan,” Raanta said. “When you’re dialed in you start sacrificing your body a little bit more than when you’re not. That’s the big thing for us.”
NOTES: Arizona acquired D John Ramage from the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier in the day in exchange for future considerations. Ramage, 26, played in 33 games with Cleveland of the AHL this season and has appeared in two career NHL games. ... The Coyotes wore decals with the letters “JJ” on their helmets in tribute to longtime USA Hockey executive Jim Johansson, who died unexpectedly on Sunday. A moment of silence was held before the opening faceoff. ... Islanders D Scott Mayfield left the game for a time in the second period to get stitches after taking a stick to the face, then returned to action. ... Islanders F Shane Prince was scratched with a lower body injury, missing his second straight game.
Islanders: At Vegas on Thursday night.
Coyotes: Host Columbus on Thursday night.