Okposo scores in OT as Islanders beat Jets 4-3
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Kyle Okposo didn’t care how the play developed. He was just happy to get a goal — and the win.
Okposo scored off a quirky rebound 2:20 into overtime to lift the New York Islanders to a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
Islanders center Frans Nielsen blasted the puck toward the net, but it hit Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers in the face and Okposo got the rebound and shot it in past goalie Michael Hutchinson.
“I’ll take ‘em anyway I can get ‘em. I haven’t scored in a while,” Okposo said. “We broke up the play (in our own end) and I tried to go to the net and got a lucky bounce off Ehlers’ face and had a wide-open net.”
Okposo cut short his jubilation and waved toward the benches for help after seeing Ehlers down on the ice.
“I think Nik’s going to be fine. We’ll check him tomorrow,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said.
Calvin de Haan, Shane Prince and Anders Lee also scored, and Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots as the Islanders improved to 5-1 on their season-high seven-game road trip that concludes Sunday against the crosstown-rival New York Rangers.
“These are good teams we’re playing,” New York coach Jack Capuano said of the team’s success on the trip.
Mark Scheifele had two goals and Tyler Myers also scored for the Jets, who have lost six straight at home and nine of 10 at the MTS Centre. Hutchinson finished with 23 saves.
Scheifele gave the Jets a 3-2 lead with 2:03 remaining, but the Islanders took advantage of an extra attacker and Lee tied it again with 29 seconds left.
“That’s a frustrating loss,” Hutchinson said. “To have the lead that close to the end and for them to score, and then in overtime for a goal to go in like that, it’s unfortunate.
“Especially when you see one of our good, young players take the puck right in the face there, you never like to see that happen. It’s an unfortunate thing that happened and hopefully he’s OK.”
Prince, acquired from Ottawa on Monday, put the Islanders ahead 2-1 at 8:32 of the third period, but Jets defenseman Myers quickly evened it up at 9:56.
New York went into the game with the NHL’s top penalty kill, but the Jets scored on the power play with 3:47 left in the first period while Johnny Boychuk was in the box for roughing.
Dustin Byfuglien, playing in his 400th NHL game, had his shot blocked by an Islanders player, but Mathieu Perreault picked up the loose puck and sent a pass over for Scheifele to tap in.
It was Scheifele’s 16th goal of the season, a career-high for the third-year centre that he bumped up to 17 with his second of the night.
The assist extended Byfuglien’s point streak to seven games, with one goal and six assists. Perreault also got his career-high 26th assist of the season.
Jets defenseman Anthony Peluso left the game in the first period after crashing into the net and didn’t return because of what the team called an upper-body injury.
“We’ll get final results tomorrow, but I’m not optimistic,” Maurice said.
De Haan tied it at 6:02 of the second after Manitoba native Travis Hamonic passed the puck out of the corner to de Haan in front and his point shot beat Hutchinson.
Winnipeg had a 20-16 edge in shots on goal after the second.
Prince scored his fourth goal of the season after withstanding a slash around his right hand by Byfuglien as he went the net.
Myers’ tying goal was his seventh of the season.