NYI
24-17-7
TOR
26-17-5

Islanders 5, Maple Leafs 3

Travis Betts | Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:46 AM

The New York Islanders trailed by two goals early, but showed composure to score five straight times in a 5-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday at Air Canada Centre.

The top line of John Tavares (two goals, one assist), Matt Moulson (one goal, one assist) and Brad Boyes (one goal, two assists) combined for eight points, propelling the Islanders to a much-needed win to maintain seventh place in the Eastern Conference. At 23-16-5 (51 points), the Islanders stay one point behind sixth-place Ottawa and three ahead of the eighth-place New York Rangers, who both won Thursday.

Head Coach Jack Capuano said the team has grown during the course of the season into a resilient bunch that has gone 7-0-2 so far in the month of April.

“I don’t know what happened at the beginning of the year, but we’ve put that behind us, moved forward and have done some good things here,” Capuano said. “We fell behind early, our 5-on-3 struggled, but we found a way to come back and get some pucks to the net. Fortunately, they went in.”

The Islanders outshot Toronto 11-2 over the first 10 minutes of play, but trailed 2-1. After the Islanders failed to score on a 1:28 5-on-3 advantage, Joffrey Lupul gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead five minutes in. He drove the net from the left wing and found space between Evgeni Nabokov’s legs for the early goal.

Cody Franson scored on the power play less than two minutes later to double Toronto’s lead. Phil Kessel dished a pass down low, and Tyler Bozak backhanded an area pass in front where Franson powered it home at 6:41.

Before the midway mark of the opening period, a pair of fights four seconds apart deflated the Maple Leafs’ momentum. Matt Carkner and Frazer McLaren dropped the gloves first, and on the ensuing draw, Eric Boulton and Colton Orr went toe-to-toe in a lengthy bout. After the marathon battle, play settled down, and the ice tilted in the visitors’ favor.

“I wasn’t happy with my play up until that point, so I knew I had to step up for the boys,” Carkner said. “Thankfully, McLaren stepped up and we had a good fight. Boults knows what to do – he and Orr had a great fight, and the boys responded real well. We’re a composed group in here, and any little spark helps. We did a great job to battle back.”

Boyes netted his ninth goal of the season at 9:07, drawing the Islanders within one. Tavares spun around in the right circle and threaded a pass through traffic for Boyes on the other side, who ripped it home. Six minutes later, Moulson tied the game at 2-2 with a power play marker. Boyes took a quick shot from high in the zone that Moulson re-directed to Toronto goalie James Reimer’s left side. Lubomir Visnovsky earned secondary assists on each of the Islanders first two goals.

Tavares scored his first of the night late in the first to give the Islanders a 3-2 lead. He and Boyes took the Toronto zone on a two-on-one, and the Maple Leafs’ Jake Gardiner defended the potential pass. Tavares instead shot the puck off the underside of Reimer’s arm and in at 17:24.

The Islanders skated to intermission with a 3-2 lead, marking the second consecutive game in which they scored three times in the first period.

Tavares extended the Islanders lead at 14:40 of the middle frame with his second of the night, and 26th of the season. Boyes drove wide on an attack, drawing a defender before centering a feed to Tavares. With a second to pick his spot, the Islanders center went low on Reimer to double the Islanders’ lead, 4-2.

Boyes, who is from the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, offered a unique theory for why the Islanders, specifically the top line (who all hail from the Toronto area), have excelled in Toronto this season. Boyes has two goals and four assists in the two meetings, both wins, at the Maple Leafs.

“I know I’ve got a section of people here tonight, and I think Johnny had a section of people here too,” Boyes said. “Playing here has worked out well for us. For whatever reason – maybe Johnny’s getting home-cooked meals. I had one yesterday from my mom. That was good. Maybe that was part of it.”

The Islanders out-shot the Maple Leafs 34-10 over the first 40 minutes, and finished with a 38-21 advantage in shots on goal. It marked the eighth straight game in which the Islanders registered more shots than their opponent.

Midway through the third stanza, Frans Nielsen increased the Islanders lead to three. Kyle Okposo led a 3-on-2 rush and wheeled around a defender in the neutral zone before taking the blue line. He found Nielsen trailing in the middle, who wound up his shot and pumped in his fifth of the season.

The Maple Leafs went to a late 5-on-3 power play, and pulled the goalie to set up a three-man advantage in the Islanders zone. Kessel fed the puck to Dion Phaneuf, who one-timed it past Nabokov to cut the Islanders lead to 5-3 with 26 seconds remaining.

The Islanders head west to Winnipeg and will face off with the Jets on Saturday, April 20. At 23-19-2 (48 points), the Jets sit in ninth place, three points back of the Islanders, and are the most imminent threat to New York’s postseason hopes. The Islanders have not lost in regulation during April, while the Jets have won five straight to hang on the outside of the playoff bubble. Game time is set for 3:00 p.m. Saturday.

Notes: Evgeni Nabokov stopped 19-of-21 shots, finishing with a save percentage greater than .900 for the 12th consecutive game … Nabokov improved to 9-1-2 in his last 12 starts, and is tied again for the league lead with 22 wins … Tonight marked the first time in the last 10 games that the Islanders have allowed more than two goals … The Islanders improved to 13-5-2 on the road; only Pittsburgh (16) and Chicago (17), who sit atop their respective Conferences, have won more away from home … The Islanders went 1-for-5 on the power play, while Toronto went 2-for-4 … Travis Hamonic led the Islanders with 23:00 of ice time … John Tavares and Josh Bailey led all other players with four shots apiece … Matt Carkner blocked a game-high four shots … Matt Martin led the team with six hits … The Islanders won 35-of-63 faceoffs (56%), led by Frans Nielsen (9-of-12, 75%).

New York Islanders

Forwards

26 Matt Moulson - 91 John Tavares - 24 Brad Boyes

12 Josh Bailey - 51 Frans Nielsen - 21 Kyle Okposo

6 Jesse Joensuu - 53 Casey Cizikas - 17 Matt Martin

40 Michael Grabner - 10 Keith Aucoin - 13 Colin McDonald

Defensemen

47 Andrew MacDonald - 3 Travis Hamonic

14 Thomas Hickey - 11 Lubomir Visnovsky

2 Mark Streit - 4 Radek Martinek

Goaltenders

20 Evgeni Nabokov

60 Kevin Poulin

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

21 James van Riemsdyk - 42 Tyler Bozak - 81 Phil Kessel

41 Nikolai Kulemin - 43 Nazem Kadri - 19 Joffrey Lupul

16 Clarke MacArthur - 84 Mikhail Grabovski - 47 Leo Komarov

38 Frazer McLaren - 11 Jay McClement - 28 colton Orr

Defensemen

51 Jake Gardiner - 3 Dion Phaneuf

24 John-Michael Liles - 23 Ryan O'Byrne

45 Mark Fraser - 4 Cody Franson

Goaltenders

34 James Reimer

30 Ben Scrivens

Scoring Summary
1st Period
05:05TOR Joffrey Lupul (9) ASST: Phil Kessel (28), Jake Gardiner (3) 1 - 0 TOR
06:41TOR PPG - Cody Franson (4) ASST: Tyler Bozak (15), Phil Kessel (29) 2 - 0 TOR
09:07NYI Brad Boyes (9) ASST: John Tavares (19), Lubomir Visnovsky (8) 2 - 1 TOR
15:03NYI PPG - Matt Moulson (15) ASST: Brad Boyes (24), Lubomir Visnovsky (9) 2 - 2 Tie
17:24NYI John Tavares (25) ASST: Matt Moulson (27), Andrew MacDonald (8) 3 - 2 NYI
2nd Period
14:40NYI John Tavares (26) ASST: Brad Boyes (25), Mark Streit (20) 4 - 2 NYI
3rd Period
10:22NYI Frans Nielsen (5) ASST: Kyle Okposo (16) 5 - 2 NYI
19:33TOR PPG - Dion Phaneuf (9) ASST: Phil Kessel (30), Jake Gardiner (4) 5 - 3 NYI
Three Stars of the Game
John Tavares
1st
John Tavares
C
G: 2Shots: 4
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 19:33
Matt Moulson
2nd
Matt Moulson
LW
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 17:18
Brad Boyes
3rd
Brad Boyes
RW
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 2Hits: 1
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 16:19
Penalty Summary
1st Period
01:26TOR Mark Fraser  Tripping against  Frans Nielsen
01:58TOR Cody Franson  Boarding against  Matt Moulson
05:28NYI Matt Carkner  Interference against  Joffrey Lupul
07:44NYI Matt Carkner  Fighting (maj) against  Frazer McLaren
07:44TOR Frazer McLaren  Fighting (maj) against  Matt Carkner
07:48NYI Eric Boulton  Fighting (maj) against  Colton Orr
07:48TOR Colton Orr  Fighting (maj) against  Eric Boulton
11:04NYI Travis Hamonic  Holding against  Nazem Kadri
11:15TOR James van Riemsdyk  Hi-sticking against  Thomas Hickey
14:29TOR Leo Komarov  Boarding against  Andrew MacDonald
2nd Period
NONE
3rd Period
10:55TOR Dion Phaneuf  Hi-sticking against  John Tavares
18:34NYI Eric Boulton  Roughing against  James van Riemsdyk
18:53NYI Evgeni Nabokov  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
shots by period
PeriodNYITOR
1st195
2nd155
3rd411
Total3821
Team Stats
CategoryNYITOR
Power Plays1/52/4
Hits2540
Faceoff Wins3627
Giveaways1327
Takeaways139
Blocked Shots2212
Penalty Minutes1820
  • NY ISLANDERS
  • TORONTO
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
2M. StreitD01-10020:44
3T. HamonicD0012223:00
7M. CarknerD00-10712:28
10K. AucoinC0002012:17
11L. VisnovskyD0233021:12
12J. BaileyL0014019:01
13C. McDonaldR00-12012:59
14T. HickeyD0033018:36
17M. MartinL0003012:23
21K. OkposoR0111018:09
24B. BoyesR1233016:19
26M. MoulsonL1133017:18
36E. BoultonL00-1277:26
40M. GrabnerR0002011:51
47A. MacDonaldD0111022:22
51F. NielsenC1012018:38
53C. CizikasC00-11010:25
91J. TavaresC2134019:33
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
20E. Nabokov1821.85760:00
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
3D. PhaneufD10-21224:28
4C. FransonD10-12220:32
11J. McClementC00-12011:29
16C. MacArthurL0002016:02
19J. LupulL10-12015:09
21J. van RiemsdykL00-23220:42
23R. O'ByrneD0001015:31
24J. LilesD0001017:31
28C. OrrR000056:06
38F. McLarenL000055:57
41N. KuleminL00-22014:08
42T. BozakC0100021:12
43N. KadriC00-21013:14
45M. FraserD00-11222:37
47L. KomarovC0000213:00
51J. GardinerD02-20020:25
81P. KesselR03-12021:00
84M. GrabovskiC0001013:22
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
34J. Reimer3338.86859:01