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UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Right winger Kyle Okposo scored 58 seconds into overtime Thursday night to give the New York Islanders a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at Nassau Coliseum.
An announced crowd of 13,618 turned out as a blizzard bore down on Long Island. Most of them went home happy after Okposo -- one of the most controversial omissions from the U.S. Olympic hockey team -- spared the Islanders yet another gut-wrenching home loss by putting back a rebound of center John Tavares' shot.
Okposo pumped his fists and slammed his fists into the boards after the puck sailed past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford. Chants of "U-S-A!" rained down on the ice as the Islanders celebrated.
Center Casey Cizikas and left winger Thomas Vanek also scored for the Islanders, who took a 2-0 lead before the Blackhawks tied it. New York (14-21-7) has blown six two-goal leads this season at Nassau Coliseum, where it was 0-4-4 in its last eight games heading into Thursday night.
Defenseman Brent Seabrook and right winger Ben Smith scored for the Blackhawks (29-7-8), who are 5-0-3 in their last eight games.
Crawford, who was playing for the first time since suffering a lower body injury on Dec. 8, had 31 saves
Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov had 37 saves.
The Blackhawks generated most of the offense in the first period, when they outshot the Islanders 12-5. But Nabokov made a series of impressive saves - including smothering the puck between his legs on a shot by center Jonathan Toews with 7:48 left - to keep the game scoreless until Cizikas' impressive goal gave the Islanders the lead with 4:36 remaining in the period.
Cizikas stole the puck in the neutral zone and broke toward Crawford with Blackhawks left winger Bryan Bickell in pursuit. Bickell continually tried jabbing the puck loose from behind before Cizikas deked Crawford and buried the puck into the left corner of the net.
The score energized the Islanders, who dominated offensively for most of the second period before extending the lead to 2-0 with Vanek's putback goal at the 8:09 mark. The goal was set up by a slapshot by defenseman Andrew MacDonald and an initial rebound attempt by Okposo.
The Blackhawks pulled within one on a power-play goal with 1:24 left. Seventy seconds after Islanders defenseman Matt Carkner was whistled for tripping, Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook's slapshot sailed over Nabokov's right shoulder. Seabrook fired the shot with such force that he fell over as the puck went into the net.
Chicago killed off a penalty of its own to end the second and begin the third and tied the game 15 seconds after 5-on-5 play resumed, when Smith capped a furious flurry in the Islanders' goalmouth. Left winger Patrick Sharp began the sequence by nearly scoring on a wraparound. The puck bounced in the goalmouth, and Toews tried poking it in before Smith finally got the puck past Nabokov.
The Islanders had multiple chances to take the lead in the third period. Crawford stopped center John Tavares at point-blank range, center Ryan Strome and right winger Colin McDonald failed to bury putbacks and Tavares' shot off a nifty no-look pass from Okposo skittered along the goal mouth.
A boarding penalty on Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw with 6:47 left put the Islanders on the power play, but Tavares could not put back a shot by Okposo.
The Blackhawks nearly took the lead as the power play expired when left winger Brandon Saad stole the puck in the Islanders' zone and raced in on the breakaway, but his shot was wide of the net.
In the final two minutes, Crawford turned Okposo away from point-blank range before Islanders right winger Michael Grabner's shot glanced off Crawford's glove and center Frans Nielsen fired a shot off Crawford's pads.
NOTES: Only two Islanders home games were postponed due to the weather. Blizzards forced postponements on Feb. 7, 1978, and March 13, 1993. ... Before Thursday, the Islanders went 0-3-1 in their previous four home games against the reigning Stanley Cup champion dating back to a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 27, 2009. ... Islanders C Josh Bailey participated in the morning skate but missed his third consecutive game due to an upper-body injury. ... The only other scratch for the Islanders was LW Eric Boulton. ... The Blackhawks are carrying three goalies until they return home Sunday. Antti Raanta, who took over when G Corey Crawford got hurt Dec. 8 and went 8-1-2 in Crawford's absence, was the backup Thursday. Jason LaBarbera was a scratch. ... The Blackhawks also scratched D Sheldon Brookbank and D Michal Rozsival. ... Chicago visits the New Jersey Devils on Friday to complete the Blackhawks' 11th set of back-to-back games this year -- but only the second played entirely on the road. ... The Islanders host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.