Rookie goalie dumps Flames as Isles snap 8-game skid
New York's Christopher Gibson saves 50 to spoil Mike Smith's return
Christopher Gibson refused to take all the credit after backstopping the New York Islanders to a much-needed win on Sunday.
The rookie goalie made 50 saves as the Islanders beat the Calgary Flames 5-2 to snap an eight-game losing streak.
"Personally it's great, but hockey is a team game," said Gibson, who improved his record this season to 1-0-2. "It's a great feeling. I'm happy that the team won today. I think it was a full team effort. I let out some bad rebounds and guys were there to clear them out."
It was the second NHL win for Gibson, who went 1-1-1 for the Islanders in the 2015-16 season.
"Ever since he's been in the organization he's been a great goaltender and tough to score on," said forward Anders Lee, who had two goals for the Isles. "We always know the potential that these [young] guys have, but when you come into the game and play as calm as he has been, it's been a wonderful surprise."
Johnny Boychuk had a goal and two assists for the Islanders (30-29-10), while Nick Leddy and Jordan Eberle also scored. Casey Cizikas and John Tavares had two assists each.
"To get a win, especially when we've been playing one-goal games and going into overtime and losing in a shootout or losing in overtime; something's got to give, especially if you keep doing the right things," Boychuk said. "We know we're in a corner and we have to win as many games as we can."
Mike Smith returns
Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist for the Flames (34-26-10), who kicked off a three-game homestand after going 2-0-1 on the road last week.
"It's frustrating," said Calgary captain Mark Giordano, who scored in the third period to pull the Flames within two goals before Lee sealed the win for the Islanders with an empty-net goal. "I think the problem is we're getting down a lot at home where we're forced to press a lot because you're down by a few goals. That was the case again tonight."
Goalie Mike Smith made 22 saves in his return to action after missing the past 13 games with a lower-body injury.
"I thought early on there I was a little sloppy, but I felt like I settled in pretty well as the game went on and got more comfortable," Smith said. "Tonight I think mentally we weren't engaged enough at the start of the game and it cost us."
Leddy opened the scoring at 2:14 of the first period when he fired a point shot that deflected off the post and in behind Smith.
Just 18 seconds later, another point shot by Boychuk deflected off Calgary forward Troy Brouwer's stick and past Smith to give the Islanders an early 2-0 lead.
Gaudreau scored at 7:23 to pull the Flames within a goal when he took a pass from Sean Monahan before snapping a shot to the short side past Gibson.
The Islanders regained their two-goal advantage 3:02 later on a goal by Eberle, who tipped Boychuk's shot on net before picking up his own rebound and backhanding the puck past Smith.
Boychuk continued his strong performance early in the second period when he fired another slap shot on net that Smith stopped, but the rebound went right to Lee, who swatted it into the net to put New York up 4-1.
After Giordano poked a loose puck in the crease into the net behind Gibson at 7:24 of the third, the Flames continued to pour on the pressure but weren't able to get any more pucks past Gibson, who stopped point-blank chances by Sam Bennett and Gaudreau.