The Islanders put a stamp on their last trip through Eastern Canada with a commanding 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre.
Matt Moulson broke a 2-2 deadlock at 13:56 of the third period with his 31st goal of the season. Moulson finished with two goals, while PA Parenteau and John Tavares each scored three points as the Islanders picked up their first win against the Leafs this season.
“We only gave up 14 shots and we didn’t give up many scoring chances,” Jack Capuano said. “It was a game that we were ready for and guys were prepared. All four lines contributed tonight.”
Parenteau added an insurance marker 1:47 after Moulson's go-ahead goal, as he burst through the Leafs zone with speed and tucked the puck through James Reimer’s five-hole. Moulson scored his 32nd goal into an empty net, establishing a new career high.
“We came through when we needed to,” Tavares said. “PA scored a big goal to get a two-goal lead and take the pressure off of us. It was nice to come through in the third period where we haven’t been as good recently.”
Phil Kessel opened the scoring for the Maple Leafs at 10:24 of the first period, beating a sliding Evgeni Nabokov high from the right circle. Just over five minutes later, Josh Bailey evened the score on a brief two-on-one with
Tavares, taking a pass and putting it past James Reimer.
The Leafs regained the lead in the second period off a Matt Lombardi wraparound, but the Isles responded before the end of period. David Ullstrom netted his third goal of the season, tapping in a one-touch, backhand pass from Michael Grabner.
“Our game plan was to come out and work,” Moulson said. “We knew they had been travelling a lot lately and obviously played last night. We wanted to take advantage of that cause we had a couple of days off and were fresh.”
Nabokov wasn’t the busiest goalie, but was sharp when he needed to be, turning aside 12 of a season-low 14 shots against. Reimer surrendered four goals on 33 shots.
Tavares’ three assists on Tuesday were his 40th, 41st and 42nd of the season. Paired with Parenteau's 48 assists, it marks the first time that two Islanders recorded 40 assists in the same season since Zigmund Palffy (42) and Robert Reichel (40) did so in 1997-98. Parenteau becomes the first Islander since Vladimir Malakhov in 1993-94 to hit 47 or higher.
With two assists, Mark Streit extended his season-high point streak to five games (1g/6a) and posted his second multi-assist game in his last three outings.
After two games in the Northeast, the Islanders head to Florida for a two-game set with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers. The Isles take on the Bolts Saturday night at 7 p.m.