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Isles top Blackhawks in OT

Uniondale,  NY  (SportsNetwork.com)  -  Kyle Okposo's  goal  58  seconds  into 
overtime  lifted the New York Islanders to a season-high third straight win, a 
3-2 decision over the Chicago Blackhawks that also ended a lengthy losing skid 
at Nassau Coliseum for the home team. 

Casey  Cizikas and Thomas Vanek also scored and Evgeni Nabokov turned aside 37 
shots  in  the Islanders' first  victory on home  ice since a shootout triumph 
over Detroit on Nov. 16. New York had gone 0-4-4 at Nassau Coliseum since that 

Chicago  fought  back from a 2-0  deficit to gain  a point on goals from Brent 
Seabrook  and Ben  Smith. Corey  Crawford,  returning from  a 10-game  absence 
caused by a groin injury, recorded 31 saves in the loss. 

After  coming up  short on  a few  opportunities to  prevail near  the end  of 
regulation, the Islanders wasted little time deciding the outcome in the extra 

John  Tavares  took a pass  from Andrew MacDonald  and skated into the Chicago 
zone,  where his shot attempt was blocked by the Blackhawks' Duncan Keith. The 
puck  went straight to a trailing Okposo, who rifled a wrister over Crawford's 
glove and into the top right corner of the net for the game-winner. 

"When  that puck went  in and I heard everybody chanting 'USA!', it was pretty 
special,"  said Okposo,  who was  left off  the United  States roster  for the 
upcoming Winter Olympics when the team was announced Wednesday. 

Seabrook and Smith scored just over three minutes apart overlapping the second 
and third periods to pull the Blackhawks even, and Chicago successfully killed 
off  a  penalty later on  before Crawford helped  bring on overtime by stoning 
Okposo from point-blank range with 2:01 left in regulation. 

"The  positive  out of the game  was Corey's play," Blackhawks head coach Joel 
Quenneville  remarked.  "I thought  he got us  a point and  made some real key 
stops late in the game." 

Chicago  outshot  the Islanders  by a  12-5 margin in  the opening period, but 
found  itself down  at the  first intermission  due to  Nabokov's strong  work 
between the pipes and a strong defensive play from Cizikas. 

After  forcing the Blackhawks' Bryan  Bickell to  turn the  puck over  in the 
neutral  zone, Cizikas  skated  in  alone on  Crawford  and  beat the  Chicago 
netminder  stick-side  following a nifty  fake to  begin the scoring with 4:36 
left in the frame. 

Vanek made it a 2-0 New York lead 8:09 into the second, depositing the rebound 
of MacDonald's long drive that was blocked in front of the Chicago crease. 

"Now you are starting to see a lot more confidence in our game," said Tavares. 
"I  like the energy  on the bench and in the locker room. The emotion is there 
and  you  can just feel  the hunger  from the guys.  We're starting to get the 

The Blackhawks were able to cut the deficit in half before the period ran out, 
with  Seabrook one-timing a cross-ice feed from Kris Versteeg while on a power 
play 1:24 prior to the conclusion of the stanza. 

Smith  potted the  equalizer with only 1:50  elapsed in the third, poking in a 
carom of Patrick Sharp's initial attempt that Nabokov stopped in close. 

                                   Game Notes 

Okposo's  goal was his  fourth in three games and extended his point streak to 
eight games, during which he's tallied six goals and six assists ... Vanek has 
totaled   four  goals  and  six  assists  during  a  seven-game  point  streak 
... Chicago's Patrick Kane was kept off the scoresheet for only the third time 
in  29 outings since  Nov. 3 ... The Islanders improved to 14-4-2 when scoring 
three  or more goals this season ... Cizikas was skating in his 100th NHL game 
... The Blackhawks fell to 4-8 in overtime games this season. 

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