VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Islanders knew they got away with one.
Thomas Hickey scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period and Thomas Greiss made 31 saves to help the Islanders beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Tuesday night.
New York had only nine shots through 40 minutes, and all three of its goals went in off Canucks defensemen.
“The positive thing is you end up winning it,” said Hickey, who added an assist. “But to a man in here I think we all understand that’s not going to win too many hockey games. Our goalie sort of bailed us out there and we got lucky.”
Travis Hamonic and Anders Lee also scored for the Islanders, who moved within five points of the second-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division and three up on fourth-place Pittsburgh.
“It was a pretty gritty win on the road,” Lee said. “They poured it on us a little bit.”
Linden Vey and Daniel Sedin each had a goal for Vancouver, which got 21 saves from Jacob Markstrom. The Canucks remain eight points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and it appears they will miss the postseason for the second time in three years.
“We had a few bad breaks tonight. It’s a tough one,” coach Willie Desjardins said. “I thought our team played well. I thought we worked real hard. We deserved better.”
The Canucks tied it 2-all at 10:52 of the third when Sedin banked in a shot off Greiss from the corner for his 24th of the season. Hickey then scored his fourth on a drive from the point 2:03 later that went in off the stick of Vancouver’s Christopher Tanev.
“Same story again. We battled hard all game,” Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. “You can’t be (anything) but proud of the guys.”
Vancouver pulled Markstrom with 2:30 to go but was unable to get an equalizer despite some sustained pressure.
Dan Hamhuis suited up for Vancouver a day after the NHL trade deadline came and went without a deal for the veteran defenseman.
Hamhuis, who has a no-trade clause in his contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, agreed to be moved to either Chicago or Dallas, but Canucks general manager Jim Benning was unable to get anything done before the 3 p.m. EST cutoff.
The Islanders grabbed a 2-1 lead with 5:30 left in the second on a goal that required video review. Hickey threw a shot toward the net that Lee tipped off Vancouver’s Ben Hutton and just over the line past Markstrom’s outstretched glove for his 10th goal of the season.
The Canucks nearly got even moments later, but New York’s Calvin de Haan swept the puck off Greiss’ goal line following a scramble in front.
Vancouver had a 3-on-1 earlier in the period that didn’t even result in a shot before New York went the other way on a 2-on-1, with Brock Nelson hitting the post behind Markstrom.
The Islanders opened the scoring at 4:20 of the first on their first shot when Hamonic threw a puck on net from the sideboards that deflected off Hamhuis’ stick and past Markstrom for his fifth goal.
Vancouver got that one back on the power play at 10:42 when Vey scored his third from the slot on a rebound.
“You’ve got to look at the big picture,” Henrik Sedin said. “That’s to realize where we are as a team with the (young) guys we have. You’ve got to look forward and try to come in every day and teach and be positive and try to get better. We can’t lay down flat and just play out the rest of the season.
“We know we want to create a culture where it’s not good enough to lose, and that’s what we’re trying to do even though there’s been a lot of losing.”
NOTES: Islanders forward Shane Prince, acquired from Ottawa before Monday’s trade deadline, made his debut for New York. … Canucks forward Radim Vrbata, the other veteran unrestricted free agent-to-be rumored to be on the way out of town at the deadline, sat out a third straight game with a lower-body injury. … Henrik Sedin lined up alongside Daniel Sedin and Emerson Etem on the Canucks’ top line after Jannik Hansen was injured in the morning skate. Desjardins said Hansen sustained a rib injury and will be re-evaluated in a week.
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