Islanders beat NHL’s top team in Stars as Okposo nets two

By on January 4, 2016


Updated: Monday, January 4, 2016, 12:13 AM

Cal Clutterbuck crumpled into the side boards and had to be helped to the locker room after getting crushed by Dallas defenseman Jason Demers early in the second period on Sunday.

Demers was booted out of the game for boarding, however, and the Islanders snapped a tie on the ensuing major power play on their way to a three-goal period before holding on for a wild 6-5 victory over the NHL-leading Stars at Barclays Center.

Clutterbuck, who had remained in the lineup as a game-time decision after leaving Saturday’s loss in Pittsburgh with an upper-body injury, returned to the ice later in the middle session. The heartbeat fourth-liner even netted the Isles’ final two goals of the game for nine on the season.

“That was a tough one, I didn’t really see what happened or see it coming,” Clutterbuck said of the Demers hit. “I obviously felt the aftereffects of it, so I came in and made sure I wasn’t hurt or concussed or anything.

“When I cleared all the hurdles there, I went back out and played… I was fortunate to knock in a couple.”

Kyle Okposo also scored twice and Thomas Greiss stopped 36 shots as the Isles (22-13-5) sent Dallas to its first two-game winless streak all season; the Stars (28-9-4) also fell in overtime on Saturday in New Jersey.


Kyle Okposo (r.) gets a hug from teammate Nikolay Kulemin as the Islanders drop the Stars Sunday.Steven Ryan/NHLI via Getty Images

Kyle Okposo (r.) gets a hug from teammate Nikolay Kulemin as the Islanders drop the Stars Sunday.

The Isles, who have won four of six following a three-game skid, play Thursday against East-leading Washington.

“We’re not surprising anybody anymore by beating them,” Okposo said. “When we play well, we can beat anybody.”

Okposo’s second of the game – his first two goals in eight appearances since Dec. 12 against Columbus – gave the Isles a 3-2 lead with a power-play sweep that bounded in off the skate of Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski at 8:13 of the second period.

The Isles didn’t score again on Demers’ major penalty, but Mikhail Grabovsky swept his sixth of the season past Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen for a two-goal lead at 15:02.


Jyrki Jokipakka of the Stars checks Okposo as he handles the puck and John Tavares arrives.Steven Ryan/NHLI via Getty Images

Jyrki Jokipakka of the Stars checks Okposo as he handles the puck and John Tavares arrives.

In his second shift back following the Demers hit, Clutterbuck worked the puck off the left boards and snapped a wrister over Lehtonen’s glove for a 5-2 lead with 2:17 remaining in the period.

Stars winger Valeri Nichushkin netted two of Dallas’ three goals in the third, but Clutterbuck was left alone in the slot in a shorthanded situation and completed his first multi-goal game of the season (third career) for a 6-4 game at 9:53.

“He’s a tough guy to keep out of the lineup,” Isles coach Jack Capuano said of Clutterbuck. “(Saturday) he got dinged up a little bit, and tonight, two big goals…He’s one of the leaders of our hockey club.

“I don’t know how many goals he has (nine), but he’s on pace to have a career year and he deserves it.”

cal clutterbuck ,
jason demers ,
kyle okposo ,
valeri nichushkin ,
new york islanders ,
dallas stars ,
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