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Okposo scores in overtime, Tavares has 2 goals in Islanders' win over Hurricanes

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

RALEIGH, N.C. - Questionable before the game because of swine flu, Kyle Okposo felt just fine afterward.

The New York winger snapped a shot past Carolina netminder Manny Legace at 4:45 of overtime to give the Islanders a 4-3 victory over the Hurricanes on Friday night. "I feel pretty good," said Okposo, who sat out Wednesday night against Washington. "It felt good to contribute again. It's tough watching."

With time winding down in overtime, Hurricanes defenceman Bryan Rodney tried to clear the Carolina zone. Okposo anticipated the play and intercepted the puck before beating Legace blocker side.

"I looked up and felt something on my stick," Okposo said. "I just tried to shoot something quick. Fortunately, it got over his pad."

John Tavares had the first two-goal game of his career, and Martin Biron made 25 saves for the Islanders. Mark Streit also added a goal for New York, which blew a three-goal lead before winning in overtime.

After a slow start, the Islanders are 6-2-3 in their last 11 games.

"We're really finding our chemistry," Tavares said. "We're making the big plays when we need them most."

Tuomo Ruutu, Ray Whitney and Tim Gleason scored for the Hurricanes, who are winless in 14 games, a streak that ties the franchise record.

"This is a tough one to take because of obviously the mistake I made at the end," Rodney said. "It cost us. To do that to the rest of the guys in the room is tough to swallow. I guess we'll look at the positives.

"We fought hard to get back in the game. We earned the point today."

With Gleason in the penalty box for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct, Tavares got the Islanders on the board 3:38 into the game. This year's first overall pick took advantage of a rebound off the boards behind the net, waiting for the puck to drop below the crossbar before swatting it into an open net.

Streit scored on Gleason's second penalty, one-timing a shot from the blue-line to beat Legace.

The Islanders took a 3-0 lead later in the first period when Tavares cleaned a scramble in front of the Hurricanes' net. It was the third straight game New York scored three goals in the first period, something the Islanders hadn't done since 1980.

"We got power plays off our hard work," Tavares said. "We were able to take advantage."

Carolina showed its first signs of life in the second.

Ruutu scored on the man advantage, cleaning up a loose pick in front of Biron for the Hurricanes' first power-play goal in seven games. Whitney then tipped in Andrew Alberts' wrist shot from the point to bring Carolina within one.

Gleason's seemingly innocuous slap shot from the point eluded Biron with 2:31 remaining in the third period to tie the score.

Carolina hasn't won a game since Oct. 9.

Legace, making his second start for the Hurricanes since signing Monday, made 21 saves.

After losing all four games to Carolina last season, New York is 2-0-0 against the Hurricanes this season.

Notes: Carolina D Joni Pitkanen returned to the lineup after a one-game absence. ... It was the second game of a seven-game road trip for the Islanders. ... Carolina outscored its opponent in the second period for the first time this season. ... The Hurricanes have allowed three or more goals in 11 consecutive games.


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