UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Rob Schremp called it a childish penalty, and he was pleased the New York Islanders made the most of the opportunity.
Schremp’s second goal of the game broke a third-period tie and lifted New York to a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.
The teams split six goals in the first period, but that was it for Ottawa. Schremp made it 4-3 at 1:39 of the third with a power-play goal. Frans Nielsen sealed the win with a short-handed, empty-netter with less than 10 seconds remaining.
Senators goalie Brian Elliott was pulled after allowing three goals on 13 shots in the first period. He was replaced by Robin Lehner, who had an active second period.
Lehner nearly instigated a brawl at the end of the period by elbowing Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin as they skated past each other, and was given a minor penalty. With 2:40 left in the frame, Lehner appeared to punch John Tavares in the back of the head in front of the crease.
“I was going off and came around the Islander guy—I don’t know the name of the goalie—but he skates against me and starts screaming at me,” Lehner said. “I put my shoulder into him and he falls easily on his back. It wasn’t an elbow, that’s for sure.”
Lehner also said Tavares and Andrew MacDonald were wrestling with Milan Michalek and he wanted to protect his teammate.
“When I go off, their goalie was obviously upset and had some things to say to me,” he said. “He came towards me. I won’t back down. That’s just the way I am.”
Poulin disagreed with Lehner’s version of the sequence.
“The only time I screamed was after (the elbow),” Poulin said.
Lehner’s end-of-period penalty, coupled with Chris Phillips’ interference infraction, gave the Islanders a 5-on-3 power play for the first 1:55 of the third.
Schremp tapped a rebound of Travis Hamonic’s shot past Lehner at 1:40. It was Schremp’s ninth of the season.
“Nice to capitalize, kind of a bad penalty by their goalie to take,” Schremp said. “Nice to make him pay for it. It’s a little childish; we used to do it in peewees when we were kind of pouting. I didn’t think it was necessary.
“If we let that 5-on-3 go there, there’s no repercussion of trying to make a fool of Poulin.”
Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner also scored for the Islanders.
Chris Neil, Mike Fisher, and Alex Kovalev had first-period goals for Ottawa (17-28-8), which is 1-11-4 in its last 16 games. Its only win in that span was against the Islanders on Jan. 13.
New York and Ottawa are ranked 28th and 29th in the NHL in goals, ahead of only New Jersey, but they staged a wild first period.
Ottawa scored three times on six shots in the period, and all six goals came with the teams at even strength. The Islanders finished with a 37-23 shots advantage overall.
Moulson made it 1-0 4:10 in by roofing a rebound of Jack Hillen’s shot over Elliott, but Neil tied it 13 seconds later. Poulin lost the puck to Fisher behind the net, and the Ottawa centre fed Neil for an easy goal.
Grabner snapped a rebound of Nielsen’s shot past Elliott at 9:44 for his 16th goal. Fisher’s 14th at 12:20 made it 2-2.
Kovalev gave the Senators their only lead at 17:11 with a shot from the right circle. The edge lasted only 17 seconds as Schremp’s rebound goal off Jeremy Colliton’s shot tied it again.
Lehner was solid in relief, making 23 saves.
NOTES: Islanders RW Blake Comeau sat out because of a concussion sustained in Wednesday’s loss at Pittsburgh. There is no timetable for his return. Comeau joins G Rick DiPietro on the list of Islanders injured in that loss. DiPietro will miss four to six weeks with facial fractures and swelling in his knee after being dropped with one punch by Penguins goalie Brent Johnson in the final seconds. … Ottawa D Matt Carkner missed a second game because of an undisclosed lower body injury. He is expected to return this week.