Jack Skille was looking to make an impact at the onset of Islanders camp and got off on the right foot Monday, propelling the Islanders to a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators at Mile One Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Skille scored the game-winner with 1:27 to play, leading the Islanders past the Senators in the first of two split-squad games. The July 1 signing found room in the slot, took a feed from Casey Cizikas and made no mistake, beating Andrew Hammond up high.
“It was a great play by Casey there and fortunately it went in,” Skille said. “I liked my line [with Cizikas and Harry Zolnierczyk] and we were rolling pretty good there. When you’re doing that, the momentum swings in your favor.”
Moments earlier goaltender David Leggio made a game-saving glove save with 1:54 to play, maintaining the 2-2 tie and setting up Skille to score the winner. The Islanders goaltender made 10-of-11 saves in his half of the contest [he split the game with Chad Johnson], but none bigger than his block with just under two minutes to play.
“He stepped in and did a really good job,” Skille said of Leggio. “That save got us up on the bench and it was huge for the team.”
Brock Nelson led the Islanders with two points (1G, 1A) Monday afternoon. Nelson opened the scoring with a power-play goal 46 seconds into the game, curling off the goal line and sliding the puck through Hammond. Ryan Strome and Anders Lee assisted on Nelson’s goal and the trio served as the Islanders top PP unit in the afternoon contest.
“It was a good game all things considered,” Nelson said. “It was a tough travel day, but it was a good game for us. There are a lot of positives to take out of this game. The guys stuck with it until the end.”
The 1-0 lead lasted just over four minutes, as Alex Chiasson tied the score at the five-minute mark. The teams traded chances and penalties for the rest of the opening frame, but headed to the intermission tied 1-1.
Another new Islander scored in his preseason debut, as Sebastian Collberg put the Islanders ahead 2-1 in the second period. The 20-year-old Swede redirected a Kevin Czuczman shot [the puck also glanced off of Nelson] for his first point with the Islanders.
“It’s a good start,” Collberg said. “It was a pretty hard game, especially for my first game in a long time and after surgery. But I felt better and better as the game went on.”
Johnson was steady in his preseason debut, stopping 12-of-13 shots the first half of the game.