New York at Minnesota

Islanders 5, Wild 4


ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The freefalling Minnesota Wild left their coach speechless on Sunday night.

It wasn't for a good reason.

Kyle Okposo scored twice midway through the third period, and the New York Islanders overcame a three-goal deficit to beat the Wild 5-4 on Sunday night.

John Tavares, Cal Clutterbuck and Thomas Hickey also scored for the Islanders, who won for the third time in eight games.

Tavares rejoined the lineup one night after sitting out a home game against New Jersey because of an undisclosed lower-body injury.

Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Nino Niederreiter and Justin Fontaine had goals for the Wild, who have lost five straight and eight of 11.

"It was there for us. That's the disturbing part," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "It's hard to find the words for this because this is beyond disturbing right now.

"We have to find a way to win that game. You're up 3-0 and you're at home. There's no excuses."

Coming off a winless four-game road trip in which they were outscored 19-8, the Wild fell to 15-4-2 at home. They had won 10 of 12 there and 14 of 17. Minnesota has home games during the upcoming week against St. Louis, Buffalo and Washington.

At the season's halfway point, Minnesota is tied for ninth place in the Western Conference with Dallas. Four of their next six games are against top-eight teams in the conference.

"You just need to win. That's the only way you come out of this," Wild captain Mikko Koivu said. "The only way you can win in this league is to play a good 60-minute game. We're going to analyze it (Monday) and find a way."

The Islanders didn't play a complete game, either, but they were good enough.

"We just kept chipping away and kept chipping away," Okposo said. "We were down 3-0, and kind of regrouped. We decided to go after them and start moving our feet.

"For the first 22 minutes we weren't doing that, so we decided to get pucks deep and go to the net."

Okposo's second goal capped a wild 2-minute span in which the Islanders took the lead, lost it, and regained it.

Okposo, who played 1 1-2 seasons at the University of Minnesota, scored the winner with 5:48 to play when he raced in from the left wall and put in a rebound after Thomas Vanek was stopped by Josh Harding.

The goal came 27 seconds after Fontaine lifted a rebound over New York goalie Kevin Poulin to tie it 4-4. Okposo had given the Islanders a 4-3 lead 92 seconds earlier when his slap shot beat Harding low on the glove side.

With the Islanders trailing 3-0 midway through the second period, Tavares took a shot from the right edge of the crease that hit Koivu's skate. The New York captain reached in and poked the puck across the line.

Clutterbuck, traded for Niederreiter on June 30, tipped in a shot from Hickey late in the period to get the Islanders within one goal.

Hickey tied it at 6:30 of the third, cutting across the crease to tip a pass from Colin McDonald high into the Wild net.

"We've had our struggles, and they're a good hockey team, they're going to get through it," said Islanders coach Jack Capuano, whose team lost 10 straight from Nov. 19 to Dec. 9. "We didn't talk anything about what they've done or their record. We just wanted to keep applying the pressure to them."

Harding returned after missing four games to adjust his medications for multiple sclerosis, but the Wild played their third straight game without their best offensive player. Zach Parise was placed on the injured list on Saturday because of a bruised foot.

Even without Parise, Minnesota had the game's first eight shots, the last of which gave the Wild a 1-0 lead early in the first period when Suter's wrist shot on a rebound beat Poulin. It was Suter's first goal in 51 games.

Brodin and Niederreiter scored in the first 3 minutes of the second period for a 3-0 lead.

Poulin got a piece of a wrist shot from Brodin after the defenseman took a pass from Koivu, but the puck trickled across the line at 39 seconds. The assist was the 300th of Koivu's career. He added No. 301 at 2:59 when Niederreiter -- the Islanders top pick in the 2010 draft -- beat Poulin from in front.

"The first half of the game I thought we looked great, and then the execution the second half of the game," Yeo said. "There's a lot that's between the ears right now that we have to fix."


New York was missing forwards Michael Grabner (illness) and Josh Bailey (upper-body). Each is considered day-to-day. ... Suter played 33 minutes, 14 seconds, the sixth time in eight games he has exceeded the 30-minute mark. ... The Islanders are 12-4-2 when they score at least three goals and are 0-17-5 when they don't. ... Minnesota welcomed the 10-millionth fan to watch the team at the Xcel Energy Center.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
NY Islanders  (12-20-7) «0235
Minnesota (20-16-5)1214
Three Stars
K. Okposo

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
T. Hickey

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
M. Koivu

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2

Related Video

September 1, 2017
2017-18 NHL preview: New York Islanders (0:51)
February 27, 2017
Five potential NHL wild-card teams
September 21, 2017
2017-18 NHL Preview: Minnesota Wild
August 16, 2017
Matt Cullen set to return for 20th NHL season
Scoring Summary
03:22 - Ryan Suter (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Rupp, Mitchell
39.0 - Jonas Brodin (7), Wrist Shot. Assist: Koivu, Niederreiter
02:59 - Nino Niederreiter (7), Wrist Shot. Assist: Koivu
08:45 - John Tavares (14), Backhand Shot. Assist: Vanek, Okposo
18:58 - Cal Clutterbuck (5), Tip-In. Assist: Hickey, Nelson
06:30 - Thomas Hickey (2), Tip-In. Assist: McDonald, Strome
12:13 - Kyle Okposo (13), Slap Shot. Assist: Hickey, McDonald
13:45 - Justin Fontaine (8), Wrist Shot. Assist: Cooke, Scandella
14:12 - Kyle Okposo (14), Wrist Shot. Assist: Vanek
Penalty Summary
12:35McDonald, 5 min, Fighting
12:35Mitchell, 5 min, Fighting
18:10Ness, 2 min, Hooking
05:11Ballard, 2 min, Hooking
08:59Clutterbuck, 2 min, Tripping
15:49Granlund, 2 min, Holding
02:31Cizikas, 2 min, Cross Check
15:02de Haan, 2 min, Holding
17:29Brodziak, 2 min, Hooking
Shots On Goal
Kevin Poulin60:00334
Josh Harding59:31265
Game Information
Attendance - 18851
Referees - Gord Dwyer, Dan O'Halloran
Linesmen - Ryan Galloway, Brian Mach
Other Games
Mon 1 Final
Fla 4
Wash 1 Final
Buf 2
Pitt 5 Final
Colu 3
Van 2 Final
Cal 0
StL 3 Final
Dal 2
NYR 4 Final
TB 3
Car 2 Final
Tor 5
Wpg 2 Final
Colo 1
Ana 1 Final
SJ 3