Top Shelf – Islanders Daily 12/30/13

Dec 29, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald (47), defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) and goalie Kevin Poulin (60) make a save on Minnesota Wild forward Nino Niederreiter (22) and forward Justin Fontaine (14) during the third period at Xcel Energy Center. The Islanders defeated the Wild 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

I bet that made your Monday morning a little bit better than it usually is.

On Sunday night, the New York Islanders overcame a 3-0 deficit for the first time since 1994, defeating Nino Niederreiter and the Minnesota Wild by the final score of 5-4. Finally, the Islanders were on the other side of a comeback, scoring four unanswered goals, including a huge goal from ex-Wild Cal Clutterbuck to pull the game within one before the end of the second period.

Another goal from Thomas Hickey would tie the game, but Team-USA –hopeful Kyle Okposo would steal the show, giving two more solid reasons as to why he should be Sochi-bound in February.

With under eight minutes remaining in the game, “Okie” gave the Islanders their first lead of the game with his 13th of the season – a wicked slapper from the point. With the game tied up again less than two minutes later, Okposo would, once again, put the Islanders ahead, and this time for good. The final stat-line: two goals, and an assist for Okposo, putting him in second-place amongst U.S.-born players (behind only Patrick Kane) in the NHL scoring race.

Arthur Staple Tweeted that, following the Islanders’ victory, one Isles player stated, “If he’s not on the (U.S.) Olympic team, it’s a complete joke.” It would be. Time-and-time again, Kyle has demonstrated the skill, grit and leadership that USA Hockey builds its team around, and with one day remaining before the roster is finalized, Kyle has shown all he can to make a strong case to be a first-time Olympian.

In case you missed it:

Around the NHL:

  • Buffalo Sabres 2, Washington Capitals 1 SO: BUF (Stafford, Ott SO Winner), WSH (Brouwer) – Ryan Miller made 49 stops, and Steve Ott scored the only goal through six rounds of the shootout to lead the Sabres to victory.
  • Florida Panthers 4, Montreal Canadiens 1: FLA (Kulikov, Campbell, Barkov, Bergenheim), MTL (Prust) – Three Panthers had multi-point games, including former Islanders forward Brad Boyes (two assists).
  • Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 3: PIT (Neal [3], Crosby, Kunitz), CBJ (Dubinsky, Tropp, Nikitin) – James Neal had a 5-point night for the Penguins.
  • St. Louis Blues 3, Dallas Stars 2 OT: STL (Schwartz, Oshie, Shattenkirk), DAL (Ja. Benn, Garbutt) – Kevin Shattenkirk scored with :11 remaining in overtime. Jaden Schwartz extended his goal-streak to 5 games.
  • Toronto Maple Leafs 5, Carolina Hurricanes 2: TOR (Kessel [2], Kulemin, Ranger, Phaneuf), CAR (Gerbe, Faulk) – Jonathan Bernier stopped 41 shots for the Maple Leafs.
  • New York Rangers 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 3: NYR (Nash, Zucarello, Kreider, Pouliot), TBL (Johnson, Palat, Filppula) – Henrik Lundqvist returned to the crease after a three-game layoff, and Rick Nash snapped a seven-game goal-less drought.
  • Vancouver Canucks 2, Calgary Flames 0: VAN (Hansen, Santorelli) – Eddie Lack stopped all 18 shots for his second shutout of the seasons.
  • Winnipeg Jets 2, Colorado Avalanche 1 OT: WPG (Ladd, Wheeler), COL (MacKinnon) – Blake Wheeler scored the game-winning goal with :02 remaining in overtime. Al Montoya made 33 saves.
  • San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks: SJS (Burns, Couture, Kearns), ANA (Maroon) – Antti Niemi stopped 30 of 31 shots, and Logan Couture‘s 100th NHL goal stood as the game-winner, as the Sharks snapped the Ducks’ 10-game winning streak.

Across the Sound:

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers overcame a 2-0 deficit to force a nine-round shootout and defeat the Albany Devils by the final score of 3-2. Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored his second goal of the season, and Joe Diamond added his fourth to tie the game at 2 goals apiece in the third period. Alan Quine, Mike Halmo, Matt Donovan and Phillip-Michael Devos scored in the shootout, as Kenny Reiter earned the win on home ice.