ELMONT, N.Y. — Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored 13 into overtime, slotting a breakaway backhander under Cam Talbot to lift the New York Islanders to a 3-2 comeback victory to deny the Los Angeles Kings of an NHL-record 12th-straight road win to start the 2023-24 season on Saturday night at UBS Arena.
Sprung by a Simon Holmstrom backhanded pass that he chopped up the right boards from the Islanders’ end, Pageau deked to his backhand on the breakaway and slid the puck under Talbot for just his second goal of the season.
“To be honest, I was thinking shooting like I had all year hadn’t been working,” Pageau said. “So I said, ‘I’ll try something else.’ I saw Casey do that a few times and it’s been working so I said I’d give it a shot.
“It was just a read. [Holmstrom] has a great hockey IQ… he made a hell of a read, made a hard play at a key moment, and those key plays sometimes make a key difference and it did tonight.”
The Islanders overturned a 2-0 third-period deficit — the first time this season that the Kings yielded a game-tying goal in the third period — thanks to Anders Lee, who scored twice in 7:07 to tie the game with 4:11 in regulation to ultimately force overtime.
“We played really well in the third but the biggest thing was sticking with what was giving us success, not being frustrated by being down two,” Lee said. “We played hard til the end and did whatever we could to pop one or two to tie this thing up.”
Adrian Kempe and Vladislav Gavrikov scored 3:28 apart in the second period to create the Kings’ advantage as they looked primed to set a new league record following a perfect 11-0-0 start away from Los Angeles this season.
The Islanders (12-7-7) have now won four of their last five games and have recorded at least one point in 11 of their last 12 games. Ilya Sorokin, who made 34 saves, outdueled the out-of-nowhere Vezina Trophy candidate Cam Talbot, who made 27 saves.
“We stuck with our gameplan through the full 60 minutes and didn’t waver from it and got rewarded for it,” head coach Lane Lambert said. “A great job by our players.”
The Kings opened the scoring on the power play 5:40 into the second period when Kempe rifled a one-timer between the left arm of Sorokin and his left post from the right circle.
Los Angeles’ man advantage was created following a fight between Scott Mayfield and Kings defenseman Andreas Englund, who laid a heavy hit on Mathew Barzal as he attempted to leave the Islanders’ zone. Barzal’s linemate, Bo Horvat, initially dropped the gloves to have a go with Englund, but Mayfield jumped in to spare the star center from the scrap.
“It was great. Mayfield coming in and going over [Horvat] and doing that job was outstanding by Scott,” Lambert said. “Both guys commended for that, but certainly, Mayfield stepped up.”
“It just shows the kind of locker room we are,” Barzal added. “I really appreciated it. It means a lot to me and the guys on the bench, too.”
Mayfield jumping in, though, created the Kings’ power play, which they cashed in on just 28 seconds after the fight.
They doubled their lead 3:28 later when Gavrikov snapped a wrist shot over the shoulder of Sorokin. The Islanders challenged the goal claiming Kings forward Trevor Moore interfered with Sorokin, but the goal stood upon review.
Lee gave the Islanders a lifeline with 11:18 remaining in the game when he cleaned up a rebound off a Mike Reilly shot from the left circle. The play stemmed from a Kings turnover in the neutral zone that allowed Mathew Barzal to enter the Los Angeles zone and drop a pass to the on-rushing Reilly.
With 4:11 to go, he got his second to tie it up, cleaning up another juicy rebound left by Talbot off a Mayfield shot.
“It was very inspirational,” Lambert said of the captain Lee’s effort. “He’s been playing really well. He’s been leading, he’s been forechecking, he’s battling, he’s getting to the net front and he got rewarded tonight. I’m very happy for him.”
Sorokin kept the Islanders alive with a breakaway save on Kempe before the Islanders had a trio of Grade-A chances not fall their way, most notably a Kyle Palmieri wrister that hit the post inside two minutes to go in the third.