UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Calgary’s dressing room door stayed closed for a meeting that lasted almost 20 minutes after the New York Islanders rallied for a pair of third-period goals in a 3-2 victory over the Flames on Thursday night.
Flames coach Brent Sutter said the harsh words will need to translate into wins for his team to salvage its post-season hopes. Calgary is four points behind Detroit for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“We need that desperation and sense of urgency,” Sutter said. “Tonight at times we had and at times we didn’t.”
Matt Moulson and Bruno Gervais scored in the final period to help snap New York’s three-game losing streak.
Eric Nystrom had a goal and an assist for his first multipoint game in almost six months, and Nigel Dawes also scored for the Flames.
Gervais blasted a point shot past a screened Miikka Kiprusoff with 8:29 left. Moulson scored his team-leading 27th goal earlier in the period and Trent Hunter had his first goal since Jan. 19.
Moulson tied it 28 seconds into the third. Kiprusoff blocked Mark Streit’s point shot before Moulson found the open net near the left post.
“It was a game-changer and a big momentum shift,” Calgary captain Jarome Iginla said. “That was the turning point.”
Kyle Okposo’s slot wrist shot clashed off the right post behind Kiprusoff midway through the third to keep it tied, but Gervais capitalized on the Islanders’ power play chance almost 4 minutes later after Dawes was called for hooking.
Martin Biron responded to the support by making 12 of his 23 total saves in the third, including two on a late penalty kill after a high-sticking call on Tim Jackman.
“We worked hard but for awhile we didn’t do the right things,” Biron said. “But the third period was definitely one our best; especially against a team that was desperate.”
Nystrom, the son of former Islanders star Bob Nystrom, assisted on Calgary’s first goal and slammed a one-timer for the go-ahead goal in the second period.
The Long Island native notched his first multipoint game since Oct. 6 against Montreal to cap his first career game at Nassau Coliseum.
“It felt good but now it doesn’t feel so good,” Nystrom said. “It’s a tough loss. I could care less if I scored tonight.”
Jamal Mayers set up Calgary’s go-ahead goal 13:08 in the second period, hitting Nystrom at with a sliding pass at the right post. Mayers skated past defenceman Mark Flood and pushed a pass to Nystrom as he fell behind the New York net.
Nystrom slammed home the feed for his 11th goal as his father watched from a suite. Nystrom has scored four goals in his last five games.
“We didn’t work hard enough and this time of year, that’s unacceptable,” Nystrom said. “We have to win every game for the rest of the year or else we’re in trouble.”
The Islanders were shut out the past two games before Hunter opened the scoring 8:23 in for New York’s first score in more than seven periods.
Hunter lifted a wide-angle shot over Kiprusoff’s shoulder at the left post, ending a scoring drought that lasted 154:06. Hunter ended a 17-game goal drought.
The Islanders responded to a 5-0 loss against the Rangers the previous day by accomplishing a fare come-from-behind victory. New York entered just 1-28-4 when trailing after two periods.
“In the third period we came out with the mindset to shoot, and we did,” Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. “You saw it with the first shift.”
Calgary responded just 50 seconds later when Dawes deflected Cory Sarich’s right point shot. Nystrom picked up the secondary assist on Dawes’ 13th goal.
Sarich said a consistent and loose effort will be needed with five of Calgary’s eight remaining games coming on the road. The Flames, who went through a nine-game January losing streak, will need to make-up ground against Boston and Washington this weekend or risk falling irrevocably behind the surging Red Wings.
“This time of year we have to be so crisp and sharp for the whole game and it wasn’t,” Sarich said. “It wasn’t enough.”
NOTES: Flood logged 10:49 of ice time and was minus-2 in his NHL debut. … New York is 5-11-1 in the second of back-to-back games. … Calgary made its first appearance at Nassau Coliseum since Jan. 12, 2006.