NEW YORK — Matthew Tkachuk leaped into the air and hugged Travis Hamonic after scoring the tiebreaking goal late in the third period.
Tkachuk’s second in less than 9 1/2 minutes came with 1:05 left and lifted the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Sunday night.
"It’s always fun to put the puck in the net, especially tonight," said Tkachuk, who scored his 19th and 20th goals of the season in the win. "I was obviously so pumped to get the third goal there. I was just really happy because you think (after that) basically you play good defence and you get the win. That’s why you’re really excited."
Mark Jankowski also scored as the Flames pulled into a tie with Minnesota for the second wild card in the Western Conference. Mike Smith made 23 saves before leaving due to an injury with 2 seconds remaining, and David Rittich came on to close the game.
Hamonic had an assist on Tkachuk’s late goal in in his first game back in Brooklyn since the Islanders dealt him to Calgary in the off-season. The defenceman, who had 26 goals and 120 assists in 444 games over seven seasons in New York, received a standing ovation from the crowd during a video tribute in the first period and was visibly emotional when discussing his time with the Islanders after Calgary’s morning skate.
Hamonic called the whole day emotional and was pleased that the day ended with his team leaving New York with two important points in the standings.
"Take everything else out, what was happening, it was a hockey game," Hamonic said. "When you’re playing against the East, not that it’s free points by any means, but you have a chance to get two points and gain some ground on someone back in your division.
"I thought I was a little nervous in the first period and settled in afterward. I guess that’s to be expected."
Calgary head coach Glen Gulutzan didn’t have an update on Smith after the game, but said it looked like the goalie just tweaked something in his lower body.
"It’s tough, you never want to see it, but we’ll deal with it when we know exactly what we’re dealing with," Gulutzan said.
Casey Cizikas and Anthony Beauvillier scored for the Islanders, while Jaroslav Halak finished with 39 saves. It was the 17th time in the Islanders’ last 23 games that they have surrendered 37 or more shots on goal.
Trailing 2-0, the Flames cut the deficit in half on Jankowski’s power-play goal with 9 1/2 minutes left in the middle period. Tkachuk then tied it at 9:38 of the third.
"We had a pretty good first," Islanders head coach Doug Weight said. "We were intense to start. Then we started making bad decisions and turning pucks over."
Cizikas put the Islanders on the board early in the first period thanks to an extraordinary individual effort. The forward picked off the puck along the sideboards and then scored through Smiths legs while falling forward.
Beauvillier put New York up by two at 2:59 of the second period when a seemingly harmless shot from the high slot sneaked by Smith.
NOTES: Flames F Troy Brouwer missed his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury. … F Marek Hrivik and D Matt Bartkowski were scratched by Calgary. … The Flames improved their road record 16-6-5 this season and are now 11-8-3 against Eastern Conference opponents. Calgary has won three of four on a six-game road trip, with stops in Boston and Nashville still to come. … The Islanders scratched F Alan Quine, F Tanner Fritz and D Dennis Seidenberg. … The Flames acquired Hamonic on the second day of the NHL draft in a trade that sent Calgary’s first and second round picks in 2018 to the Islanders along with a second round pick in 2019 or 2020. … Sunday marked the seventh anniversary of the Islanders’ brawl against the Pittsburgh Penguins, which saw 65 penalties assessed for a total of 346 penalty minutes. … The Islanders fell to 28-5-7 against Western Conference opponents in three seasons at Barclays Center. … New York also dropped to 17-4-1 when scoring first this season, and 18-1-1 when leading after two periods.
Flames: At Boston on Tuesday night.
Islanders: Host Columbus on Tuesday night.