The Islanders don’t spend much time discussing their winning streak. Their focus is always on the next game.
Cole Bardreau scored his first NHL goal on a penalty shot in the second period, and the Islanders beat the Senators 4-1 Tuesday night for their 10th straight win.
“Ten’s a big milestone,” Islanders’ forward Casey Cizikas said, “but every single night we have a game plan and our coaches are showing us every single day things we can get better at, things that we can work on, and areas where we can improve in.”
Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck each had a goal and an assist, and Josh Bailey also scored to help the Islanders win their first game in Brooklyn this season and extend their winning streak to the second-longest in franchise history, trailing only a 15-game run Jan. 21 to Feb. 20, 1982. Thomas Greiss stopped 27 shots in his fifth straight win.
“We’re playing confident,” Cizikas said. “We got four lines that are contributing, we got six D that are getting the puck up, moving quick and being solid in our own end, and we got two goalies that are playing outstanding, they’re making big saves when we need them to.”
Changing up their home venue for the first time didn’t slow the Islanders down. They kept right on rolling in their first game back at Barclays Center since losing Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Carolina last spring. In the second season of splitting home games between Brooklyn and the Nassau Coliseum, this was the first of 13 games at Barclays.
“We play on the same size rink everywhere in the NHL, which is a great thing,” coach Barry Trotz said. “The crowd was good today. It was a difficult game, Ottawa is playing good hockey right now. They made us earn everything. … We just stayed with what we do.”
Jean-Gabriel Pageau had a goal for the Senators and Craig Anderson finished with 28 saves. Ottawa had won three of five after starting the season 1-6-1.
With the score tied 1-1 after one period, Cizikas had a chance to put the Islanders ahead on a breakaway, but Anderson stopped his initial attempt and then the follow with 6 ¹/₂ minutes left in the period.
About two minutes later, Bardreau had a breakaway but was pulled down by Mark Borowiecki to earn a penalty shot. The rookie skated in on Anderson and beat him through the five-hole for his first NHL goal in his seventh game. He became the seventh player in NHL history, and first Islander, to get his first career goal on a penalty shot.
“The guys have been giving it to me for missing all my breakaways, but to do it in that fashion, I can’t stop smiling,” Bardreau said.
It was the second time the Islanders scored on a penalty shot against the Senators this season. Nick Leddy did it in a 4-2 win at Ottawa on Oct. 25.
Cizikas extended the lead to 3-1 at the midpoint of the third as he got a cross-ice pass from Clutterbuck and fired a slap shot past Anderson from the right circle for his first of the season and seventh career short-handed goal.
“They don’t give you much,” Senators coach DJ Smith said of the Islanders. “I really liked our game for two periods and even parts of the third. When they got their third goal it kind of broke us there and we stopped playing for a bit. They do a good job, don’t take anything away from them. They get a lead and they lock you down.”
Bailey made it a three-goal advantage just 40 seconds later as he tipped Noah Dobson’s shot past Anderson for his sixth.
The Senators got on the scoreboard first on a short-handed goal after Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock misplayed the puck behind the net. It lay there as Vladislav Namestnikov skated up and sent a pass in front to Pageau, who put it in on Greiss’ glove side at 7:44 of the first. It was Pageau’s sixth of the season and third in two nights.
Clutterbuck tied it with his first just 39 seconds later, backhanding a rebound up high on Anderson’s glove side.