Ottawa Senators\' Milan Michalek, (9) of Czech Republic, attempts to shove the puck past New York Islanders\' Dwayne Roloson (30) during first period NHL hockey action in Ottawa, Thursday December 31, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
OTTAWA - Ryan Shannon thanked a pair of teammates for his shootout winner Thursday night.
Shannon scored the deciding goal and John Tavares missed the opportunity to extend the shootout in the Senators' 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders.
Alex Kovalev and Mike Fisher both beat Dwayne Roloson to start the extra session, and Shannon sealed it, despite seeing his three-game goal-scoring streak come to an end before a crowd of 16,743 at Scotiabank Place.
"After seeing Fish and Kovalev go, I'm sure Roloson wasn't feeling too confident and I just found the net," said Shannon, who had four goals in the three games prior to Thursday after going goalless in his previous 29 games.
"The team's playing well and we're making it easy on ourselves . . . each guy knows their role and what makes them good so, when everything's clicking, all the personal games are better, too."
Tavares had the chance to keep things going after Frans Nielsen and Rob Schremp were successful against Pascal Leclaire, but he struck the side of the net with his deke attempt and the Senators won for the third time in four games.
"It's not the result we wanted. Obviously, I'd have like to put that one in," said Tavares, who was enjoyed a memorable New Year's Eve in Ottawa a year earlier when he played a starring role in Canada's come-from-behind 7-4 win over the United States at the world junior championship.
This time, the Islanders' rookie was jeered, and his miss was celebrated.
Tavares was held without a point and now has just one goal and one assist in his past 11 games.
"I thought I just had to get (the shootout chance) up and it just rolled off my stick," he said. "Obviously, you want to score every chance you get, especially me. I hate missing them. It was just unfortunate, but we battled back hard and it was good to get a point."
It was the Sens' third straight victory in shootouts and they improved to 4-3 in the extra format after coming into the season with an NHL-worst mark of 14-26.
Chris Kelly and Peter Regin scored in regulation for the Senators, while Schremp and Jon Sim had the goals for the Islanders.
Leclaire made 25 saves for the Senators (21-16-4).
"(Pascal's) been great," Fisher said. "He's making the right saves at the right times and he's been a big part of our wins lately."
Roloson stopped 34 shots at the other end for the Islanders (16-18-8), who are winless in two of their past three and fell to 2-5 in shootouts this year.
"Rollie's been like that all year for us," Tavares said. "He's definitely been giving us some life and momentum and I that that's part of why we played so well in the third. He's been our best player this year."
The game bordered on chippy at times, with former Islanders defenceman Chris Campoli a favourite target of New York's physical play. After Tim Jackman ran him into the boards at the horn to end the first, Matt Carkner landed a punch to Jackman's head that put him out for the rest of the game.
Jackman left the game for precautionary reasons, the Islanders said. Carkner received a double roughing penalty.
Islanders defenceman Andy Sutton also levelled Senators winger Nick Foligno with a heavy hit.
"It was just two teams really wanting those two points and we were just battling as hard as we could," Foligno said. "The game really wasn't very pretty. We were working so hard and grinding it out so well that neither team wanted to give each other an inch. Some bad blood, maybe, but we just wanted those two points real bad and luckily we got them."
The Senators were coming off a 4-3 loss at home a night earlier to the Colorado Avalanche, just their sixth loss at Scotiabank Place in 23 games this season.
Meanwhile, the Islanders had beaten the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 at home in their last outing on Tuesday night, with Schremp scoring the deciding goal in shootout.
After a goalless first, Schremp gave New York the lead on the power play. Kelly tied things up and Regin gave the Senators the lead on a goal that required a video review after a pile-up in the crease.
Sim tied the game 56 seconds into the third and it stayed that way until the shootout.
"When we go that distance to pull out wins, it's nice, especially when we've struggled with shootouts in the past," Fisher said. "We stuck with it, it was just a battle, and we found a way again."
Notes: After Alexandre Picard finished minus-3 in Wednesday night's loss to Colorado, the Senators defenceman found himself watching from the press box Thursday. His spot in the lineup was taken by Swedish rookie Erik Karlsson, who had sat out the previous three games as a healthy scratch. ... Members of Canada's Olympic women's hockey team were in attendance, including forward Jayna Hefford of Kingston, Ont., who dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff. ... Canada plays the United States at Scotiabank Place on Friday night in the final exhibition meeting of the teams before the women's Olympic tournament in Vancouver. With 15,178 tickets already sold as of Thursday, the game has established a record for largest attendance to take in a women's national team game, beating the 15,163 that watched the U.S. beat Canada 3-1 at the Pengrowth Saddledome on Jan. 26, 1998.