"To get the one point is huge in a short season like this," said Lehner, who made 33 saves in just his second start of the season. "But we worked really hard in overtime and then I was more than useless in the shootout."
In the Islanders' last home win on Feb. 16, Tavares registered the fourth hat trick of his career in a 5-1 victory over the Devils. He didn't have it in him to be quite so explosive on Sunday, but head coach Jack Capuano's judicious use of Tavares -- he played just 11 minutes in the first two periods and 19:09 overall, his third-lowest ice time of the season -- paid off in the shootout.
"You talk about elite players, that's what they do," Capuano said. "Johnny wasn't feeling very well, but I knew he wasn't going to miss the game.
"Very selective in how we used him because we knew he was feeling a little under the weather. But he tries to put your team on his back, he tries to help your team in any situations that he can."
It didn't seem as if the Islanders would need any overtime dramatics when Michael Grabner picked up a loose puck and fired it past defenseman Eric Gryba and Lehner to give New York a 2-1 lead with just 3:29 left in regulation.
But the Senators managed to tie it with a power play goal when Wiercioch's slap shot sailed between a half-dozen players and past a shielded Evgeni Nabokov (29 saves).
Both teams had scoring opportunities in a fast-paced overtime before Nielsen and Tavares spared the Islanders another gut-wrenching home loss. New York blew a 2-0 lead against Carolina last Sunday and scored two third period goals to force overtime in Thursday's loss.
"Those are things we have to do," Tavares said of the shootout win. "We've done that on the road really well, when things haven't gone our way. If the bounce doesn't go our way, we've been able to create some momentum back our way. And we did that today."
NOTES: The Senators scratched goalie Craig Anderson, center Derek Grant and defenseman Mike Lundin while the Islanders scratched center Keith Aucoin, winger Eric Boulton and defenseman Radek Martinek. ... Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of the Islanders retiring Mike Bossy's no. 22. Bossy, who was one of the core players that led the Islanders to four straight Stanley Cups in the early 1980s, is currently the Islanders' vice president of corporate partnerships. ... Rick DiPietro, whom the Islanders assigned to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport after he cleared waivers last weekend, earned his first win with the Sound Tigers in a 3-2 victory Saturday night. The night before, he was pulled after allowing five goals in the first period. ... Entering Sunday, the only NHL teams with fewer road wins than the Senators were the Rangers, Avalanche and Blue Jackets (two apiece). ... The Senators' current five-game road trip is only their second-longest of the year. They embark upon a seven-game, 13-day road trip on April 2.