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Thomas Hickey scores in overtime to give surging Islanders 3-2 win over Senators

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UNIONDALE, New York — Jaroslav Halak took his team record-tying 10th straight win in stride, just as he did the first nine.

The New York Islanders goalie wasn't tested much by the Ottawa Senators, but his 16-save performance was enough for his latest victory — 3-2 in overtime Tuesday night.

Halak, in his 10th NHL season and first with the Islanders, tied Hall of Famer Billy Smith's run of 10 consecutive wins in 1982.

"It wasn't an easy game," Halak said. "It was a weird game for both sides. It seemed like there was a slow pace to it the whole night.

"It's a team effort. I think everybody deserves the credit."

Halak has allowed only 13 goals during his streak, but was quick to say it's not as simple as it appears.

"It's never easy," he told reporters around his locker. "I will give you my gear and you can try it out there."

Thomas Hickey made this win possible. He set up Ryan Strome's go-ahead goal in the third period and then won it by scoring his second of the season 3:06 into overtime.

"I came around the net and there's bodies going to the net, and I just threw it blind, to be honest," Hickey said. "Maybe it got a bounce off something.

"That's how a lot of goals are scored, just throwing it and getting lucky. A lucky bounce and a big point."

The Islanders (18-7) are putting up impressive numbers across the board, including an 8-0 mark in games decided after regulation. They are one point behind Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay.

Brock Nelson scored in the second period for the Islanders, who have won seven of eight and 12 of 14.

PHOTO: Ottawa Senators right wing Alex Chiasson (90) controls the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan (44) as goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) defends the net in the first period of an NHL hockey game at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
Ottawa Senators right wing Alex Chiasson (90) controls the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan (44) as goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) defends the net in the first period of an NHL hockey game at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

Ottawa used a crisp play to tie it 2-all as Mark Stone, on the goal line to Halak's left, fed the puck in front to Clarke MacArthur for his ninth goal at 11:14.

The Islanders took a 2-1 lead 1:07 into the third during 4-on-4 play. Hickey tried to jam the puck past Craig Anderson at the right post. It caromed across the crease to Strome, who stuffed it in on the left side for his fifth goal.

Mike Hoffman scored in the first period, and Anderson made 25 saves for the Senators, who have lost five of six (1-4-1). These teams meet again in Ottawa on Thursday.

"It's good to get a point, but bittersweet to lose in overtime," MacArthur said. "It was a carom off a skate for the winner, and that's just the way it happens when you're going well like they are."

It took until late in the second for the Islanders to get going, and for a brief moment they thought they might have taken the lead.

New York got even at 1 when Kyle Okposo forced a turnover and flung a backhand pass behind his back from the center-ice boards that Nelson tracked down in the Senators end. He skated in alone on Anderson and beat him with 1:34 remaining for his 11th goal.

Then, just as time was expiring in the period, Casey Cizikas fired a rising drive from above the left circle that hit the top corner of the net just as the green light behind it went on to signal time had run out. The officials went to video replay, and before they could announce "no goal," the crowd groaned as it saw on the big board that the puck was shy of the line when the clock hit 0.0.

Neither team could muster much offense in either of the first two periods. New York had a 15-11 shots edge through 40 minutes. The only two penalty calls in that span came 31 seconds apart in the final minute of the second.

The Senators took a 1-0 lead in a lackluster first period in which the teams combined for only 14 shots — five for Ottawa.

Hoffman fired an unscreened shot from a few feet inside the blue line that beat Halak at 10:02. Hoffman's eighth goal came on the Senators' third shot.

"They didn't have many shots but they still were able to get two goals," Halak said. "I need to get at least one of those — especially the first one. It shouldn't go in.

"The guys did a great job coming back and scoring big goals."

NOTES: Injured Senators RW Bobby Ryan missed his second game. ... The Islanders were again without Lubomir Visnovsky and fellow defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Visnovsky sat out his second straight game, and Boychuk was sidelined for his third. ... The Islanders lost D Travis Hamonic (upper body) and RW Cal Clutterbuck (lower body) during the game. They are both day to day.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Ottawa Senators center Kyle Turris (7) dives to the ice to control the puck against New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo (21) in the first period of an NHL hockey game at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
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