Josi scores in OT to rally Predators past Islanders, 5-4
By VIN A. CHERWOO
NEW YORK (AP) The Nashville Predators trailed in the third period even though they seemed to have had the better chances. They stuck with it and pulled out another big win to keep rolling along.
"The whole game we had a good mindset," Josi said. "We had a lot of shots, got a lot pucks to the net. We had a lot of chances, but just couldn't get a lot of goals. In the third we just stayed with it, (Pekka Rinne) made a couple of unbelievable saves."
Kevin Fiala had two goals, and Calle Jarnkrok and Ryan Johansen also scored for Nashville, which won its third straight while scoring five goals in each and improved to 9-1-2 in its last 12 games. Rinne stopped 24 shots to help the Predators move into a tie with Winnipeg atop the Central Division, with Nashville holding the tiebreaker with two games in hand.
"We were sloppy in the first and second (periods) but we were better in the third," Johansen said. "We owed Pekka a game like this. He's been phenomenal."
John Tavares, Ryan Pulock, Casey Cizikas and Nick Leddy scored for New York, which lost for the third time in four games after the All-Star break but broke a tie with Philadelphia for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Halak finished with 42 saves.
"It's frustrating," Tavares said. "It's getting down to crunch time, got a chance to win the game in the last minute. Obviously want to get the two points."
Tavares hit a crossbar 32 seconds into the extra period and Rinne made a sliding stop to his left to deny Mathew Barzal less than 90 seconds later. Halak also denied attempts by Viktor Arvidsson and Craig Smith in close.
Trailing 4-3, the Predators pulled Rinne for an extra skater with a little more than two minutes to go, and Johansen knocked in a rebound with 43 seconds left to tie it.
With the Islanders leading 3-2 after 20 minutes, Leddy doubled the lead at 3:39 of the second. It was his eighth of the season and gave him a goal in two straight games after a 30-game drought.
Nashville, which outshot New York 18-11 in the first period, kept up the pressure and had a 19-9 advantage in the middle period.
Jarnkrok pulled the Predators to 4-3 with his 12th with 3:35 left in the second as he knocked in a loose puck. Islanders coach Doug Weight challenged for goaltender interference, but the goal stood after a video review.
"I felt going into third we had played such a strong game and we were down pretty much because of me and a couple of weak goals," Rinne said. "I was able to at least keep them off the board after the fourth goal. ... Big relief to see Josi's OT goal go in."
Tavares got New York on the board first with his 27th, a power-play goal 4:55 in. Josh Bailey set career highs with 44 assists and 57 points on the play, topping the marks he set last season.
Fiala then scored twice 1:28 apart to put the Predators ahead. He took a pass in front from Kyle Turris and Fiala put it past Halak to tie the score. Fiala then made it 2-1 as he put in the loose puck off a rebound on the right doorstep for his 17th with 6:33 remaining. It gave Fiala his second straight two-goal game, and third in the last seven.
Nashville's lead lasted just 38 seconds as Pulock fired a slap shot past Rinne to tie it with his fifth. Cizikas put the Islanders back ahead with his sixth with 2:57 remaining.
NOTES: Nashville was without LW Filip Forsberg, who served the first of his three-game suspension for a late hit on the Rangers' Jimmy Vesey in the Predators' win Saturday night. ... New York won the first meeting this season, 6-2 at Nashville on Oct. 28. ... The Islanders have allowed 225 shots on goal the last five games. They have given up at least 30 in 20 straight games. ... New York D Scott Mayfield was hit in the foot by a shot from Subban in the first period, and did not return after the first intermission.
Predators: At Toronto on Wednesday night in the second of a four-game trip.
Islanders: At Buffalo on Thursday night before a four-game homestand.
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Updated February 5, 2018