Predators Drop 1st Game of Year to Islanders on Thursday Night

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Preds New Logo 1Nikolay Kulemin broke a third-period tie, one of four straight goals scored by the New York Islanders in a 4-3 win against the Nashville Predators at Barclays Center on Thursday.

Brock Nelson’s shot was wide of the net, but the rebound came right to Kulemin, who scored at 6:42 to give the Islanders a 3-2 lead.

The Islanders (2-1-1) trailed 2-0 but won their second straight game at home after losing their opener in Brooklyn.

“It wasn’t pretty, but sometimes you have to find ways to win,” New York captain John Tavares said. “We had a really slow start. We have to be ready to battle from puck drop. It still wasn’t pretty but we just kept sticking with it and stayed with our game. We did what we needed to do to get the victory, but we know we have to be better.”

Nashville (3-1-0) outshot New York 17-7 in the first period, when the Predators took a 1-0 lead. Greiss stopped a shot by forward Cody Hodgson, but Austin Watson ricocheted the puck off Greiss’ pad through the crease and it was knocked in by Islanders defenseman Marek Zidlicky at 2:14.

The Predators led 2-0 4:22 into the second period after a net-mouth scramble. James Neal took a shot from the slot that was stopped by Greiss, but it went behind him and Tavares saved it from going past the goal line. Filip Forsberg got possession of the puck and scored.

The Islanders scored 41 seconds later when Tavares skated behind the net and threw a pass across the goal mouth that Anders Lee tapped in.

Nashville outshot New York, 47-28.

“You just take it shot by shot,” Greiss said. “You don’t worry about what the score is. You try your best and try to block as many pucks as you can.”

The 44 saves were an NHL career-high for Greiss, who has started three of four games for the Islanders with Jaroslav Halak out with an upper-body injury.

“We didn’t play extremely well, but at the end of the day, our goalie made some big saves when he had to,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said.

Tavares, who had a goal and an assist, and has six points in four games, made it 4-2 at 11:49 of the third period.

Neal scored on a tip in of a one-timer on a shot by Forsberg at 14:36 to get the Predators within 4-3. The Islanders challenged the play, saying Greiss was interfered with, but the goal stood.

“It was our best game of the year by a mile,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “Worst result of the year. Just a couple good bounces for them. Tough ending, tough result.”

Kyle Okposo tied the game 2-2 with a wrist shot from the right circle at 11:56 of the second period with the teams skating 4-on-4 because Tavares and Forsberg were in the box for roughing.

Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne made 24 saves; he had allowed two goals in the previous three games.

“That’s probably the best game of the four [we have played],” Predators defenseman Shea Weber said. “The [Islanders] capitalized on their chances.”

The Predators finish a three-game road trip against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.  Face-off is set for 6 PM and you can listen to the broadcast on Thunder Radio.