No Joshing, Isles finally win in Edmonton
Ho-Sang’s First Career Goal Lifts Wild Card-Leading Isles Over Oilers
The last time the Islanders won in Edmonton, rookie Josh Ho-Sang was just 7 years old.
New York’s 21-year-old rookie winger scored his first career NHL goal Tuesday night in Canada’s Alberta province, jumpstarting the Islanders to a much-needed 4-1 victory over the Oilers in front of 18,347 fans at Rogers Place.
Ho-Sang, the only significant player added to New York’s roster prior to last week’s trade deadline via his call-up from the franchise’s AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, Connecticut, tallied on the power play with a shot from the point with 2:37 remaining in the opening period to give the Isles a 1-0 lead.
“There are no words to describe it,” said Ho-Sang, the team’s first-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
“It’s such a relief to score and makes you feel like you belong and that things are possible.”
Anders Lee added a pair of goals, including his team-leading 25th of the year into an empty net in the final minute of play, and Andrew Ladd lit the lamp for the 10th time in his last 20 contests as New York maintained a one point led over Toronto in the hunt for the Eastern Conference’s coveted second wild-card spot.
Thomas Greiss, starting between the pipes for the eighth consecutive game, made 27 saves for New York, which improved to 4-2-1 on its franchise-record nine-game road trip, will continue Thursday night in Vancouver.
The Isles (31-23-11) also rebounded nicely from Sunday’s 5-2 loss in Calgary, averting a third straight defeat and heeding interim head coach Doug Weight’s Tuesday morning mandate to “reboot” following a rare day off Monday.
“Great response, great road win,” Weight said after the Isles skated off with their first win in Edmonton, his former long-time home as a player, since March 13, 2003.
“We played with energy and played the game plan the whole night. Great win.”
Lee snapped a 1-1 tie at 9:45 of the second stanza, beating Oilers netminder Cam Talbot off assists from Josh Bailey and team captain John Tavares.
Greiss made the slim margin hold up with a series of dazzling, diving saves until Ladd, who is finally living up to the lucrative contract he landed with New York this past offseason, scored just over seven minutes into the third period to make it 3-1.
“We were really good tonight,” said Lee, who has already matched his career-high goal total from the 2014-15 campaign.
“They are still going to get a lot of opportunities, but we limited them as much as possible and played a tight-knit game, especially on the road in a building like this with their team.”
Defenseman Thomas Hickey finished with two assists for the Isles, who will complete their epic odyssey Saturday night in St. Louis before kicking off a home-and-home with Carolina at the Barclays Center Monday night.
As for Ho-Sang, who brought a bit of baggage with him to New York following a series of disciplinary issues during his first few seasons in the organization, his first-ever visit to Edmonton as an NHLer will always be a special one.
“All of your dreams are coming true in front of your eyes, which is cool,” he said, decked out in the Isles’ ceremonial Player of the Game leather jacket awarded by teammates following each game.
“It was a very special moment.”
Isle Have Another: Edmonton native and veteran winger Jason Chimera didn’t score Tuesday night, but that didn’t stop him from enjoying the Isles’ first road win over the Oilers in their last seven tries. “It’s good. Always fun to come back home, see your parents and family,” he said. “It’s a great place, a great place to grow up and you see some people like your parents you don’t see too often, [it’s] so nice to have dinner with them. I’m proud to call it home. I’ll always end up being here when I’m done. Great memories.”
Another Isle who grew up in Edmonton, defenseman Johnny Boychuk, sat out his second straight game Tuesday with a foot injury … Weight expressed confidence that the Isles would respond following Sunday’s poor showing in Calgary, which was their third game in four days. “We’ve done some good things and we’re in position right now where we’re going to learn from our game on Sunday, we’re going to watch and take some things out of it. We’re going to bring some energy,” he predicted correctly during Tuesday morning’s pre-game skate … With their recent run of road success, the Isles have improved their record away from Barclays to a slightly more-respectable 11-15-5. They are 20-8-6 at home.
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