Saturday night’s contest at American Airlines Center was the Islanders second consecutive high-scoring road game, and the Islanders earned a 5-4 win in regulation over the Dallas Stars. Matt Moulson scored four goals, including the game-winner, to earn the first star.
“My linemates have really been going,” Moulson said of John Tavares and PA Parenteau. “I haven’t had to do too much for my goals. They make some good plays… “It was one of those games where everything seemed to pop towards me, right in front of an open net, so when you get those, you have to take advantage of them.”
Moulson’s four-goal night was the first of its kind by any one player in the NHL this season. When he notched his first goal on the power play, a rebound off of Mark Streit’s shot from the blue line at 8:55 of the first period, the Isles winger extended his goal and point streak to four games, the second of his career and first since Oct. 12, 2009 - Oct 21, 2009.
Just like Moulson, the Islanders coaching staff credited the whole line for their effort.
During the intermission, Assistant Coach Scott Allen told MSG, ““I think you have to look to the whole line. Johnny has been a beast as far as the way he’s been playing and I mean that in a good way. He’s been playing outstanding hockey for us, controlling the puck in all areas of the ice. PA Parenteau is obviously been an unbelievable compliment to those guys.”
He continued, “They’re starting to pick up where they left off last year as far as their offensive production. It’s a situation that Matt could have five or six goals tonight. Don’t forget he missed that breakaway tonight and he had a couple opportunities on the power play. It’s obviously a strong night offensively for those guys, but it’s a compliment to everyone on that line.”
To bring the Islanders lead 2-0, Tavares picked up the puck at the Islanders blue line and skated with it all the way through the neutral zone before he fired a shot that rung off the back wall and popped back up out front of the net for a charging Moulson to tap in the loose puck low corner at 10:54.
Dylan Reese opened the scoring 2:48 in the second period as he fired a snap shot from the high slot that beat goaltender Andrew Raycroft high glove side to bring the score 3-0. From below the goal line, Matt Martin set up the play as he sent Reese the saucer pass.
Dallas would then score three straight to even the score at three with goals from Tomas Vincour in the high slot at 3:27, Eric Nystrom at the paint at 4:53 and then Jake Dowell from the dot at 5:30.
With Dallas tying the score in just 2:02 of play, Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano could have called the timeout, but he said he didn’t want to make that call. He said he knew it was more important to save the timeout for later in the game as he knew a TV timeout was about to come and he sensed all the right kind of energy coming from his bench at that time.
It proved to be the right move as Moulson would score his third goal to retake the Islanders lead just 27 seconds after the Stars evened the score. He did so after Tavares dug the puck out from behind the net, made a pass backwards through his legs and through the traffic area in the slot, to find Moulson at the bottom of the circle.
“He’s in the right places at the right time,” Capuano said. “Defense leads to offense. He had a breakaway too, so he could have had five tonight or six. He played extremely well. I thought that line really carried us tonight. They played a lot of minutes for us.”
At 16:08 of the second, Tom Wandell would fire a slapshot from the top of the circle to beat DiPietro and tie the score at four, but Moulson would respond 1:02 later to score the game-winner. Charging towards the net alongside Parenteau, Moulson tapped the puck home after a short East-West saucer pass from his linemate through the slot.
“He’s a great goal scorer. He has a nose for the net. We like to feed him. I feel like he was open all night tonight, so I’m happy for him and hopefully we have some more of that coming.
In the third period, Al Montoya entered the game in relief of an injured Rick DiPietro (groin). He made 13 saves to keep the score 5-4 and help DiPietro earn the win.
“At the end there, we hung on for the two points which was huge,” Moulson said. “We might not have played the best third, we were down a couple guys on the front end, so everyone bared down and came away with the win.”
Notes: Michael Grabner also left the game with a groin injury in the third period, while Nino Niederreiter left the game after just 11 seconds of play, forcing the Islanders to play a man down for the majority of the game. He took a check to the head from Mark Fistric at 6:08 of the first and was experiencing concussion-like symptoms. All three players will be reevaluated upon return to Long Island.
“At the end, we didn’t get some pucks that we should have got out A) because of the way they were coming and they played real well, and B) I thought we got fatigued at the end, we had a short bench up front. I thought we could have made it a little easier on ourselves, but I give the guys credit.”
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