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Blackhawks cap road trip with shootout victory against Islanders

Despite the Isles’ late tying goal and only 46 combined shots on goal, the Hawks found a way to cap their road trip with a victory.

The Blackhawks kept the Islanders winless at their new UBS Arena home.
AP Photos

ELMONT, N.Y. — Appreciating the Blackhawks right now requires a taste for a certain kind of hockey.

Excitement needs to be low on the list of priorities. Little about the way this team puts a lid on the shot-counter and grinds its way through each minute is exciting.

But for fans who want competitiveness in any fashion, the Hawks deliver. They did so again Sunday, overcoming a late tying goal and an uneventful overtime to beat the Islanders 3-2 in a shootout.

‘‘The big thing here is our guys are buying into having to take teams to a 2-1 win or a 2-2 tie going into overtime,’’ interim coach Derek King said. ‘‘And I like our chances. We’re OK with it. Good for them to compete [for] all three periods.’’

There’s good reason for King to like the Hawks’ chances: They’re 2-0 in overtime and 3-0 in shootouts since he took over. They’re 8-4-0 under him, having just taken two of three games on this trip, despite winning only three times in regulation.

They just keep finding a way. Dylan Strome scored what he admitted he thought would be the winning goal with 14 minutes left, only for the Islanders’ Noah Dobson to tie the score with four seconds to play.

But the Hawks allowed the Islanders, who have lost 11 consecutive games, zero shots on goal in overtime before winning on Patrick Kane’s conversion and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s three saves in the shootout.

‘‘Obviously, we struggle to score [at] five-on-five, but . . . we’re winning those 2-1, 3-2 games, and that’s what we have to do when the puck’s not going into the net,’’ said wing Brandon Hagel, who scored in the first period. ‘‘Hopefully the pucks start going in. But what we’re doing right now, we can’t change that.’’

King’s homecoming

King still holds a little bit of love for the Islanders in his heart. Given his lengthy and successful time with them — he scored 499 points in 638 games while wearing their uniform from 1986 to 1997 — it’s easy to understand why.

So his first matchup against the Islanders as an NHL coach was emotionally significant.

‘‘I’ll have some family members [here],’’ he said before the game. ‘‘I know I’ve got some buddies that will probably have my jersey on and screaming things and making me look like an idiot. It’ll be a little weird.’’

The only thing missing from King’s semi-homecoming — he actually was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but one wouldn’t know that from the way he describes Long Island — was the dilapidated charm of Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders debuted their brand-new UBS Arena last month after years of anticipation and an ill-fated venture to Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

King lovingly described the ‘‘mothball smell in the carpet’’ at the Coliseum, which seemed like a palace when he arrived for his first training camp in 1985. But as he glanced around UBS Arena’s spacious layout and modern design for the first time, he also gave it his approval.

‘‘As a kid, you looked up and you couldn’t believe the size of it,’’ he said of the Coliseum. ‘‘Coming from the [Ontario Hockey League], it’s a big, big step. But then after awhile, [when] you go to all these other rinks when you’re playing, you go back home, and it’s [like], ‘When are we going to build a new rink?’

‘‘I’m just happy that the rink and the Islanders are back on Long Island and not in Brooklyn and going somewhere else. I’m happy for the fans.’’