Devon Toews scored the tiebreaking goal early in the second period, Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots and the Islanders beat the Minnesota Wild, 2-1, on Sunday at Barclays Center.
Anthony Beauvillier also scored for the Islanders, the Metropolitan Division leaders, won for the fourth time in five games and ninth in 12 (9-1-2) to increase their lead to five points over second-place Washington. The Islanders, who beat Colorado, 4-3, in overtime Saturday, improved to 15-2-1 in back-to-back games, including 9-0-0 on the back end.
“You have to have a winning commitment,” Islanders Coach Barry Trotz said. “The whole group has been all-in all year.”
Mikael Granlund scored for the Wild, who lost for the fifth time in six games (1-3-2). Devan Dubnyk, starting for the second straight game after facing just 18 shots in a 4-2 win at the Devils on Saturday, had 32 saves.
Minnesota pressed for the tying goal in the third, outshooting the Islanders by 12-9 in the period after totaling 15 shots over the first 40 minutes. Greiss had four saves in close on one Wild power play in the middle of the period, stopping a tip by Eric Staal, a shot by Jason Zucker and two more tries by Staal.
With a little more than a minute left, Anders Lee used his helmet to block a shot by Ryan Suter to help preserve the win.
“Guys are blocking shots with their legs, their ankles, their head,” Trotz said. “You name it, they’re getting in the way.”
Greiss improved to 4-0-1 in his last five games, giving up three goals on 157 shots in the stretch. His lone loss was 1-0 in a shootout against Tampa Bay at Nassau Coliseum on Feb. 1.
“Guys in front of me are playing well, everybody is doing their job, and it shows out there,” he said.
Granlund tied the score, 1-1, with a power-play goal 38 seconds into the second period. A rebound of Staal’s shot came out to Jason Zucker on the right side, and as Greiss came out to cut off his angle, Zucker sent the puck across to the left where Granlund put it into the open net for his 13th.
Toews put the Islanders back in front at 2 minutes 1 second on a power play with his fourth goal, a one-timer from the left slot off a pass from Ryan Pulock.
DEVILS 3, HURRICANES 2 Marcus Johansson scored twice and a battered Keith Kinkaid made 32 saves to lead the Devils past Carolina at Prudential Center.
Nico Hischier set up all three goals to help the Devils snap the Hurricanes’ three-game winning streak and hand them their fifth loss (13-5-1) in 19 games. Pavel Zacha also scored for the Devils.
“It’s never going to be easy but definitely a huge game for me,” said Kinkaid, who had lost six of his last seven decisions.
Dougie Hamilton and Teuvo Teravainen scored for Carolina, and Petr Mrazek made 18 saves. The Hurricanes, who have missed the playoffs the last nine seasons, would have moved into the second wild-card spot ahead of idle Pittsburgh with a win.
This was a tough game for Kinkaid in more ways than stopping shots. He took a stick in the face from Jordan Martinook with 7:23 left in the second period, was bowled over by Justin Williams later in the period and was knocked over again in the third when Nino Niederreiter interfered with Devils defenseman Damon Severson.
Not only was Niederreiter penalized, the call nullified what would have been a tying goal by Sebastian Aho with 12:54 left.
Zacha and Johansson gave the Devils a 2-0 first-period lead.
Hamilton cut the gap to 2-1 in the second, but Johansson restored the two-goal margin at 15:56 of the third period. Teravainen scored on a power play with 1:27 to play after Carolina pulled Mrazek.
DUCKS FIRE COACH The Anaheim Ducks fired Coach Randy Carlyle amid a seven-game losing streak and free-fall into last place in the Western Conference.
The Ducks announced that General Manager Bob Murray would be the coach for the remainder of the season.
“Difficult decisions need to be made when times are tough, and our play has clearly been unacceptable,” Murray said in a statement.
Carlyle, 62, the winningest coach in Ducks history, was in his second stint with Anaheim. He led the team to the Stanley Cup in 2007 and three appearances in the conference finals (2006, 2007, 2017).
Anaheim has made the playoffs six straight seasons but won just two of its last 21 games. The Ducks were second in the Pacific Division on Dec. 18 after winning 11 of 13, but they have gone 2-15-4 since, including a 12-game skid last month.
“You don’t expect to have to live through this stuff for an extended period of time,” Carlyle said after a 6-2 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday.
The Ducks made the playoffs in seven of Carlyle’s eight full seasons with the team, going 46-37 in the postseason. They were swept out of the first round last season.