- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Two days after beating their division rival in a shootout, the New York Islanders went to the tiebreaker again to down one of the top teams in the Western Conference.

Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo scored in the shootout to lift the Islanders to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night for New York’s fourth straight win.

The Islanders improved to 10-2-1 against Western Conference teams this season and are 5-0-1 in their last six games. They also won by an identical score against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night. The Islanders are now just three points behind the Washington Capitals and the Rangers for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

“You want to try to win the division,” New York’s Ryan Strome said. “I don’t think a lot of guys look at that, but as you pile up these wins it’s going to add up.”

Mikhail Grabovski tied it early in the third period for the Islanders, and Thomas Greiss, making his third start in four games, stopped 31 shots through overtime and then denied Kevin Shattenkirk and Vladimir Tarasenko in the shootout.

Greiss improved to 8-3-2 this season and has given up just six goals on 91 shots while winning his last three games. The backup goalie in his first season with the Islanders said he didn’t change his approach in his first shootout this season.

“You just do the same thing and sometimes there’s some luck, too, a couple of bounces here or there,” he said. “Just do your thing and don’t worry too much about it.”

Shattenkirk scored late in the first period and Brian Elliott finished with 24 saves through overtime. Elliott was starting for the first time in 17 days after Jake Allen started the last seven games for St. Louis.

“We played a strong game, just didn’t get the win,” Shattenkirk said. “We had a lot of chances. Their goalie was really good.”

The Blues had won five straight meetings against the Islanders before New York won 3-2 in overtime at St. Louis on Oct. 24.

“I’m really impressed with their hockey team,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Four good lines and six strong D. They will be trouble for teams out west. We played some good hockey and still couldn’t beat them right now.”

Grabovski tied it at 6:39 of the third. He brought the puck across the blue line and dropped it for Strome, and Strome passed it back to Grabovski streaking toward the net. After he was stopped on his initial shot, Grabovski fired the rebound over Elliott’s glove.

“I saw Grabo go to the middle, I went to go behind him and he made a great drop pass, I just fed him and he made a great finish,” Strome said. “We were kind of buzzing a little bit tonight, had some good chances. Good to finally get one and help the team out.”

The win was the Islanders’ first this season when trailing after two periods, and the Blues lost for the first time when leading after two.

“Our guys played well tonight defensively, gave up a few chances in the second,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “Greiss made some big saves for us that held the score where it was.”

Shattenkirk gave the Blues a 1-0 lead in the final minute of the first period. After the Islanders were whistled for icing, Paul Stastny won the faceoff against Casey Cizikas in the left circle, and Tarasenko got the puck in the high slot. He passed it to Shattenkirk, who sent a one-timer from the top of the left circle past Greiss with 26.8 seconds left in the period.

The Islanders’ Brock Nelson briefly left the game early in the first period after taking a shoulder hit from St. Louis’ David Backes to the high chest 3:22 into game.

Blues defenseman Colton Parayko also went to the locker room early in the third after he tangled with an Islanders player, got his leg caught and fell awkwardly to the ice behind St. Louis’ net. He returned to the ice several minutes later.

NOTES: Tarasenko began the day eighth in the NHL with 92 shots this season. He had four in the game and has had at least one shot in 73 consecutive regular-season games. The Islanders were the last team to hold him without a shot, during a 6-3 loss at St. Louis on Dec. 11, 2014. … Shattenkirk has three goals and eight assists in 13 games since returning from a 10-game injury absence…. The Islanders are 2-1 while wearing their Brooklyn-themed black-and-white uniforms. … Grabovski scored in overtime at St. Louis on Oct. 24 to give the Islanders the win.

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