There was little doubt Thomas Vanek was going to produce for the New York Islanders. It was just a matter of when.
Vanek had a goal and an assist and Kevin Poulin made 26 saves to lead the Islanders to a 3-1 win against the Boston Bruins at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Vanek had an assist in Friday's victory. He now has three points (one goal, two assists) in as many games since being traded to New York by the Buffalo Sabres this past Sunday.
"I'm playing with two great players and it's a great opportunity for me," Vanek said after the game. "Everyday is a new day and I keep learning and keep building."
Dougie Hamilton scored the lone goal for Boston (8-5-0). Chad Johnson made 31 saves in his second start of the season.
Tavares broke a scoreless tie at 6:15 of the second period. With the teams at even strength, Vanek took the puck off David Krejci's stick in the slot and quickly put a shot on goal that was denied by Johnson. But Tavares was on the doorstep and showed some nifty hand-eye coordination and swatted the puck out of midair and over the goal line for his sixth goal of the season.
MacDonald doubled New York's lead with his first goal of the season at 13:13. MacDonald, who had three goals in 48 games last season, took a pass from Travis Hamonic and one-timed a slap shot from the left point that found its way through a crowd and past Johnson to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead.
The Bruins responded quickly via the power play on a goal by Hamilton at 15:27. With three seconds remaining on a holding-the-stick penalty to Islanders forward Brock Nelson, Hamilton sent a cross-ice feed from the right circle toward Carl Soderberg, but New York center Frans Nielsen accidentally poked it through Poulin's pads to make it 2-1. It was Poulin's only blemish of the evening.
"I think Kevin played well tonight," Head Coach Jack Capuano said. "They have net presence and big bodies, and he battled hard for us. We know what Kevin can do, we have seen him grow in Bridgeport. We have a 2 solid goaltenders and we are going to need them its going to be a long season."
Vanek restored New York's two-goal lead 41 seconds later with his first goal as an Islander. He finished off a 2-on-1 with Kyle Okposo by one-timing a feed from the left circle past Johnson to make it 3-1. It was Vanek's fifth goal of the season and 30th in 51 games against the Bruins.
"After playing a couple games the chemistry is there." Capuano said. "They are highly skilled and they have great work ethic. I know they played about 23 minutes. I like what they did offensively, but even without the puck."
Johnson denied Vanek's bid for his second of the night midway through the third period. Vanek made a nifty move around Hamilton and snapped a wrister that Johnson snared with his glove to keep it a 3-1 game.
The Islanders begin a four-game road trip Tuesday against the Washington Capitals.
Notes: Thomas Vanek's goal was his 500th career point. Tavares, Vanek & Okposo each finished the night +3. Andrew MacDonald led the Isles with 27:44 time-on-ice. Cal Clutterbuck led the team with 6 hits Travis Hamonic led the Islanders with 5 blocked shots.
New York Islanders
60 Kevin Poulin
17 Milan Lucic- 46 David Krejci - 12 Jarome Iginla
18 Reilly Smith- 37 Patrice Bergeron- 63 Brad Marchand
23 Chris Kelly- 51 Ryan Spooner- 34 Cark Siderberg
20 Daniel Paille- 11 Gregory Campbell- 22 Shawn Thornton
33 Zdeno Chara - 27 Dougie Hamilton
43 Matt Bartkowski- 44 Dennis Seidenberg
47 Torey Krug- 54 Adam McQuid
30 Chad Johnson
40 Tuukka Rask