Tavares' five-point night leads Islanders past Stars

Cory Wright | Monday, 01.06.2014 / 10:53 PM

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Captain John Tavares scored a hat trick en route to a five-point night, as the Islanders beat the Dallas Stars 7-3 Monday night at Nassau Coliseum.

Tavares’ monster night drove the Islanders offense, as the home team erased an 0-2 deficit with four second period goals. Ryan Strome sparked the second-period onslaught with his first career NHL goal, as the Islanders won their fourth game in their last five tries.

“A lot of guys did great things,” Tavares said. “I was just happy I was able to capitalize.”

His teammates wouldn’t let the captain be so modest.

“He’s unbelievable,” Strome said. “He puts the team on his back. In the third period you saw how good he wanted to be. He wanted that hat trick. If I can learn one thing of the 100 things he does, it’ll make me successful.”

Trailing 2-0 at the start of the second period, the Islanders conjured up their third comeback in five games. Strome got the Islanders rolling, jumping all over a Thomas Vanek pass on the power play and firing past Kari Lehtonen.

“I was just sitting on the back door hoping for a loose puck and my eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw it pop out there,” Strome said. “[Tavares and Vanek] are great players and it’s no surprise that the puck found me with those two players on the ice.”

Vanek finished the game with two assists, extending his point streak to a career-high nine games (5-9-14). Vanek’s second assist was one of the prettiest plays of the night, as he fed Tavares with a beautiful no-look, between-the-legs pass for an easy tap in.

“We’re getting some good chemistry,” Vanek said. “I think you can see it every night but you know overall, besides his play it was nice to see everyone scoring and we’re going to need that here.”

Two minutes after Tavares’ first goal, Peter Regin scored his second of the season, burying a Josh-Bailey feed from the top of the crease. Dallas’ Valeri Nuchushkin tied the score on the power play six minutes later, but Brock Nelson put the Islanders ahead with a strong wrister in the slot with 28 seconds to play in the middle frame. With the secondary assist on Nelson’s goal, Calvin de Haan picked up his first career NHL point.

From there it was all Islanders, as Brian Strait scored his fourth goal of the season 1:24 into the third period. Approximately five minutes later, Tavares walked out of the corner and beat Lehtonen with a nifty deke and a quick backhand, setting the stage for the hat trick.

With 3:07 to play and two Stars in the penalty box, Tavares did not disappoint, blasting home his third goal from the slot. The hats reigned down and the Islanders skated off to a standing ovation from the Coliseum crowd.

The win did come at a cost to the Islanders, as goaltender Evgeni Nabokov left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. Kevin Poulin stopped 13-of-15 shots in relief of Nabokov, while Lehtonen finished the contest with 36 saves.

After taking four-of-six points at home, the Islanders embark on a six-game road trip, starting Tuesday night in Toronto. Puck drop from the Air Canada Centre goes at 7 p.m.

NOTES: Vanek, de Haan, Andrew MacDonald and Casey Cizikas each finished the game with two assists… MacDonald is riding a five-game point streak (eight assists)… In total 12 different Islanders hit the scoresheet and every Islander had a shot except de Haan… The Islanders won 63% of faceoffs… Travis Hamonic led the team with 23:47 TOI… Josh Bailey returned after missing four games with an upper-body injury.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
05:01DAL Jamie Benn (15) ASST: NONE 1 - 0 DAL
13:48DAL Erik Cole (11) ASST: Alex Chiasson (14), Rich Peverley (15) 2 - 0 DAL
2nd Period
01:41NYI PPG - Ryan Strome (1) ASST: Thomas Vanek (20), John Tavares (30) 2 - 1 DAL
07:29NYI John Tavares (18) ASST: Thomas Vanek (21) 2 - 2 Tie
09:29NYI Peter Regin (2) ASST: Josh Bailey (10), Thomas Hickey (9) 3 - 2 NYI
15:28DAL PPG - Valeri Nichushkin (9) ASST: Rich Peverley (16), Ray Whitney (12) 3 - 3 Tie
19:32NYI Brock Nelson (4) ASST: Casey Cizikas (5), Calvin de Haan (1) 4 - 3 NYI
3rd Period
01:24NYI Brian Strait (2) ASST: John Tavares (31), Calvin de Haan (2) 5 - 3 NYI
06:19NYI PPG - John Tavares (19) ASST: Frans Nielsen (18), Andrew MacDonald (18) 6 - 3 NYI
16:53NYI PPG - John Tavares (20) ASST: Andrew MacDonald (19), Casey Cizikas (6) 7 - 3 NYI
Three Stars of the Game
John Tavares
John Tavares
G: 3Shots: 6
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 5PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 19:48
Ryan Strome
Ryan Strome
G: 1Shots: 5
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 14:29
Thomas Vanek
Thomas Vanek
G: 0Shots: 3
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 4
+/-: 2TOI: 17:23
Penalty Summary
1st Period
10:20NYI Thomas Vanek  Hooking against  Cody Eakin
2nd Period
00:24DAL Antoine Roussel  Cross checking against  Casey Cizikas
13:33NYI Casey Cizikas  Holding against  Erik Cole
15:57DAL Ryan Garbutt  Holding against  Brock Nelson
19:55NYI Thomas Vanek  Roughing against  Jamie Benn
19:55DAL Jamie Benn  Roughing against  Thomas Vanek
19:56NYI Thomas Vanek  Roughing against  Jamie Benn
3rd Period
03:38NYI Casey Cizikas  Interference on goalkeeper against  Kari Lehtonen
05:18DAL Ray Whitney  Hooking against  Frans Nielsen
15:13DAL Alex Chiasson  Slashing against  Andrew MacDonald
15:29DAL Ryan Garbutt  Hi-sticking against  Travis Hamonic
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/33/5
Faceoff Wins2745
Blocked Shots159
Penalty Minutes128
4B. DillonD00-11019:46
6T. DaleyD0013019:35
10S. HorcoffC00-11013:36
12A. ChiassonR01-12213:41
13R. WhitneyL01-11213:35
14J. BennL1012218:42
16R. GarbuttC0000411:06
17R. PeverleyC02-11013:43
20C. EakinC00-10014:43
21A. RousselL0002211:36
23K. ConnautonD00-21015:19
24J. BennD0010019:01
33A. GoligoskiD00-12022:04
38V. FiddlerC00-10014:33
43V. NichushkinR1013016:43
55S. GoncharD00-21018:35
72E. ColeL10-22015:03
91T. SeguinC0011018:41
32K. Lehtonen3643.83760:00
3T. HamonicD0004023:47
12J. BaileyR0102010:22
13C. McDonaldR00-11015:16
14T. HickeyD0104016:56
15C. ClutterbuckR0003014:55
16P. ReginC10-13010:57
17M. MartinL0001015:08
18R. StromeR1005014:29
26T. VanekL0223417:23
29B. NelsonL1022015:45
37B. StraitD1021017:29
40M. GrabnerR0012011:33
44C. de HaanD0210020:54
46M. DonovanD0002014:04
47A. MacDonaldD0212021:29
51F. NielsenC01-11016:45
53C. CizikasC0201415:05
91J. TavaresC3236019:48
20E. Nabokov78.87512:54
60K. Poulin1315.86747:06