VANCOUVER â€” New York Islanders interim head coach Doug Weight didn’t show much emotion after the Vancouver Canucks tied Thursday’s game late in regulation.
Inside was a different story, but the feeling didn’t last long.
Andrew Ladd scored at 1:33 of overtime after Troy Stecher equalized in the dying seconds of the third period as New York defeated Vancouver 4-3 on a night where the Islanders were thoroughly outplayed for 40 minutes.
“I was in full panic, but I just kind of stood (still),” said Weight. “It’s a bad feeling, especially amidst the game we had.
“You can’t believe you’re in the lead after two and you come out and have a good period. It’s frustrating to give the goal up, but that’s what overtime is for.”
Calvin de Haan fed Ladd in the extra session for his 19th of the season on a tap-in winner after the Canucks had a couple of chances at the other end.
“(De Haan) made a nice play being patient going down the wall,” said Ladd. “I just tried to find a spot backdoor and he made an amazing pass.”
After a sluggish first two periods where they somehow led 3-2 despite getting outshot 30-14, the Islanders played a much better third only to see Stecher make a nice move at the blue line before ripping his third past New York goalie Thomas Greiss with 19.3 seconds left on the clock.
“It wasn’t a great game,” said Islanders captain John Tavares, who scored his team-leading 25th goal in the first. “They came out hard. They’re playing desperate and threw everything at us. We did a good job of giving ourselves an opportunity to win.
“Unfortunate to give up one late, but good perseverance overcoming the way we played today and getting a big goal in overtime.”
Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson also scored for New York (32-23-11), which got 36 saves from Greiss.
Josh Bailey added three assists for the Islanders, who moved a point ahead of Toronto for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference after briefly dropping out of a playoff position following the Maple Leafs’ 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers earlier Thursday.
New York improved to 15-6-3 since Weight replaced Jack Capuano on Jan. 17, and is 5-2-1 on a season-high nine-game road trip that wraps up Saturday in St. Louis.
“We didn’t look exhausted,” said Weight. “We looked a little overconfident.”
Reid Boucher and Sven Baertschi had the goals for Vancouver (28-30-9). Ryan Miller made 24 saves for the Canucks, who are 2-0-2 over their last four games and sit six points back of the second wild-card spot in the West.
“We have to stay positive and continue to fight,” said Stecher, a rookie defenceman who added an assist. “We played a good game. I don’t think the score really indicated our performance through the first two periods.
“We stuck with it and found a way to force overtime. This late in the season we have to find a way to complete the job.”
The Canucks turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 advantage early in the second. Boucher scored his third by banging his own rebound past Greiss.
Baertschi then gave Vancouver its first lead just 1:56 later on a play that left Tavares wearing goat horns. Tavares threw a blind pass into the slot that Baertschi intercepted before quickly beating a surprised Greiss with a slick move to the backhand. The goal was Baertschi’s 16th of the season and third in five games since returning from a concussion.
But the Islanders got back to even at 9:44 when Vancouver’s Jason Megna lost the puck in the offensive zone and New York quickly turned the other way, with Beauvillier beating Miller on a breakaway for his seventh.
Nelson then restored New York’s lead with 23.8 seconds left in the second when the Islanders centre tipped a point shot that deflected off Stecher and bounced past a helpless Miller for his 15th.
The play was eerily similar to the overtime goal scored by Montreal’s Paul Byron in the Canadiens’ 2-1 victory in Vancouver on Tuesday.
Miller kept the Canucks in it after stopping Tavares on a 2-on-1 midway through the third. The Vancouver goalie also blocked Tavares on the rebound and then another follow-up chance off the stick of Anders Lee to set the table for Stecher’s tying goal and Ladd’s winner
“Some nights you’re not going to have it,” said Ladd. “You’ve just got to find a way.”
Notes: With newly acquired Nikolay Goldobin out with the flu, the Canucks dressed defenceman Alex Biega as the 12th forward. … Vancouver defenceman Nikita Tryamkin returned to the lineup after missing six games with the mumps. … Tavares now has 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) over his last 21 games. … Canucks forward Bo Horvat has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his past 12 games.
Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter
Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press