UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The New York Islanders unveiled an unlikely offensive force against the Ottawa Senators: defenceman Freddy Meyer.
Meyer scored twice and added an assist, and the Islanders snapped a two-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.
“I know in the minors, I had two hat tricks,” Meyer said. “Tonight was just one of those nights.”
Yes, one that Ottawa coach Craig Hartsburg would like to forget.
“I don’t think we competed hard enough for 60 minutes,” Hartsburg said. “We didn’t play well.”
Andy Hilbert and Trent Hunter had the other goals for the Islanders, who beat the Senators three times in a season for the first time since Ottawa rejoined the NHL in 1992. Joey MacDonald, who started his 14th straight game, stopped 19 shots for the win.
The Islanders completed a stretch of six games in nine days, and went 3-3.
“It was a good win for us,” Meyer said, “especially since we were on short rest.”
Top-line forwards Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson scored for Ottawa, 2-1-2 in its last five games. Alex Auld turned aside 21 shots.
“I think we’re a better team than we showed,” Alfredsson said. “It wasn’t a great effort.”
Heatley put the Senators ahead 7:32 in on Ottawa’s second shot. He took the puck, moved across the slot, and beat MacDonald with a wrister.
The Islanders tied it on a delayed penalty call when Hilbert tipped Meyer’s left point shot past Auld at 12:41. The play went to a video review but it was determined that Hilbert’s stick wasn’t above the crossbar when he deflected the shot.
The second period was scoreless until the last minute, when the Islanders took a 2-1 lead with 34.5 seconds left.
Jon Sim skated down right wing on a rush and threw a centring pass down low. The puck crossed over to Meyer, who was streaking in, and he tipped it past Auld as he fell down.
The Islanders went up 3-1 at 1:57 of the third period. Just after a power play ended, Meyer found a tight hole with a left point slap shot.
“That third goal was a huge goal for them,” Hartsburg said.
Alfredsson narrowed the Senators’ gap to 3-2 when he finished a give-and-go with Heatley at 8:04. It was Alfredsson’s sixth of the season.
Ottawa pressed to tie it, but New York sealed the win when Hunter backhanded his 10th goal into an empty net with 61 seconds left.
The Islanders have had problems this season holding on when leading in the third period, but coach Scott Gordon wasn’t worried about it happening again.
“I don’t think there was anything that haunted us,” Gordon said. “Ottawa was trying to win the game, too. There is no team in the league that is going to play 60 minutes. That’s just the nature of the beast.”
Notes: This was the only road game in a stretch in which Ottawa plays six of seven games at home. Islanders rookie C Josh Bailey will remain with the team for the entire season instead of going back to juniors. … No Islanders defenceman has recorded a hat trick since Denis Potvin on March 4, 1982.