CALGARY — Thomas Hickey saw a goal from a different perspective at Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.
Hickey’s tying goal halfway through the third period set the stage for Josh Bailey’s overtime winner as the New York Islanders beat the Calgary Flames 2-1.
“I watched a lot of games in this rink and saw a lot of goals. You hope that it’s you some day,” said the Calgary-born Hickey, who had his parents and several friends in the crowd. “You don’t think about scoring on the Flames growing up, but it’s a real cool moment for me and my family and my friends, too.”
Matt Martin set up Hickey’s first goal in 37 games by charging his way down the sideboards, evading checks from Mark Giordano and Sean Monahan, then sending a pass into the slot where Hickey put a backhand past Joni Ortio.
“It’s always good to come back into your hometown and get one and it was a big one too,” said Isles coach Jack Capuano. “We were looking for a little bit of offence and there’s no better way for your defenceman and hometown kid to get it. It got us going, it gave us the surge that we needed.”
The winning goal came with 18 seconds remaining in extra time and less than a minute after Calgary’s Giordano hit the goal post at the other end.
On a two-on-one down low, Bailey was set up at the side of the net on a perfect feed from John Tavares.
“It’s a good play by them,” said Ortio, who had 32 saves. “I knew he was going backdoor there but he got it up quick, got off a good shot and I just wasn’t quick enough.”
Making his second start in a row and just his fourth NHL start on the season, Ortio picked up where he left off on Tuesday when he made 35 saves in a 2-1 loss to Los Angeles.
“Orts was real, real good. He’s tracking the puck real well, he’s solid,” said Flames coach Bob Hartley. “It’s too bad. I felt we deserved better but that’s the way it goes.”
Also excellent on the night was Halak, who had 31 stops. The 30-year-old has started and won the first three games of the Isles franchise-record seven-games road trip, stopping 88 of 90 shots.
“Your goalie has to fight for his space,” said Capuano. “I’m not a goalie coach but I do know if you sit back, you’re in trouble. You’ve got to get out, you have to challenge, you have to hack and whack at certain times in front to protect your area and he’s done that.”
Third in the Metropolitan Division, the Islanders (33-19-7) remain three points back of the New York Rangers, who were also victorious Thursday.
Jiri Hudler with his 10th scored the lone goal for Calgary (26-30-4). The slumping Flames are 1-5-1 in their last seven.
“We had a solid game. They’re a good team, they’ve been on a hot streak and we matched up really well against them,” Ortio said.
Calgary scored the lone goal of the first period when Hudler finished off nifty three-way passing play with Gaudreau and Monahan.
After a disappointing first half, Hudler — a pending unrestricted free agency — has five goals and eight assists in his last 15 games. Key in the line’s success lately has been Gaudreau, who has one goal and seven assists during a six-game point streak.