NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Thomas Hickey scored 1:25 into overtime, and the New York Islanders beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 Tuesday night to preserve their thin playoff hopes for at least another game.
Brock Nelson also scored for the Islanders, and goalie Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves as they won their third straight in chasing the Eastern Conference’s second wild card.
The Islanders came in with captain John Tavares missing his second straight game with a lower-body injury. They outshot Nashville 32-23 to ruin the Predators’ regular season home finale.
Mike Fisher scored a goal for Nashville, which lost four of its last five.
The Islanders moved within five points of Toronto for the second wild card after both Boston and Ottawa won earlier Tuesday night to move up the Atlantic Division standings.
Nashville picked up a point to tie Calgary briefly for the first wild card in the West.
Hickey won the game for New York by stopping the puck in the left circle, then beating Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne stick-side for his fourth goal this season.
The Predators clinched their third straight playoff berth Sunday night, and they came into this game with a very slim chance at third in the Central Division and a better shot at catching and passing Calgary.
Nashville coach Peter Laviolette started Miika Salomaki in his first game since Oct. 15 after an injury kept him out almost all season. Defenseman Brad Hunt, picked up off waivers Jan. 17 from St. Louis, also made his Nashville debut.
The Islanders found themselves on the edge of elimination after Boston clinched a berth with a 4-0 win over Tampa Bay just as New York went into the second intermission trailing 1-0. Then Ottawa also won, beating Detroit 2-0. A loss by Toronto also helped.
The Predators had a chance to break open a scoreless game in the opening minutes of the second period.
But Ryan Johansen’s pass to Filip Forsberg on a breakaway was jut out of his reach, and Jaroslav Halak covered up the puck. Then Colin Wilson skated up the left side and sent a cross-ice pass back toward Fisher who beat Halak with a wrister for his 18th goal this season at 7:03 of the second.
Nelson tied it up for the Islanders just after Nashville killed off a penalty, beating Rinne with a wrister from the left circle at 1:32 of the third.
Halak kept it tied by stopping Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis late in the third.
NOTES: The Predators sold out their home finale for the 41st sellout of the season, the first time the franchise has sold out every game in a season. … Salomaki played in the first two games for Nashville before getting hurt.
Islanders: Visit Carolina on Thursday night.
Predators: Visit Dallas on Thursday night.
(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)