Tavares' five-point night leads Islanders past Stars

Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Senior Writer | Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 12:52 AM

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- John Tavares and the New York Islanders now have to figure out a way to keep a good thing going on the road.

Tavares had a hat trick and his second career five-point game to lead the Islanders to a 7-3 rout of the Dallas Stars at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Monday. The Islanders have won four of their past five games and are 7-4-2 since snapping their 10-game winless streak on Dec. 10.

However, the Islanders will play their next six games away from the Coliseum, starting Tuesday at Air Canada Centre against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have been idle since their 7-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday.

"It's just something to build on," Tavares said. "We're going to have a tough test [Tuesday], a team that is looking to bounce back after a few days off. We know we're going to have to be ready to play and we can't just dwell on this one and think it's going to be easy. We have to come with the right intensity, a great work ethic and play a smart road game. We have to be at the top of our game."

The Islanders were Monday after falling behind 2-0 in the first period on a goal by Jamie Benn off a turnover in front of the net and a seeing-eye shot through traffic by Erik Cole. New York responded by scoring four goals in the second period. It was the first time the Islanders scored that many times in a period since Jan. 24, 2013, and the first time they did it at home since Nov. 19, 2011.

Brian Strait made it 5-3 with his second goal of the season 84 seconds into the third period and Tavares capped the scoring with two more power-play goals to complete his hat trick. His previous five-point game came in his rookie season on March 16, 2010. He had four points on two goals and two assists Dec. 31 against the Boston Bruins.

"He's unbelievable," said Islanders rookie Ryan Strome, who got New York on the board Monday with his first NHL goal. "He puts the team on his back. I think the third period you really saw how good he wanted be. He wanted that hat trick and it shows how dominating he can be. If I can learn one thing out of the 100 things he does it's going to make me successful."

Strome, Peter Regin, Tavares and Brock Nelson scored in the second period. Nelson's goal, his fourth of the season, was the game-winner.

The Islanders were 3-for-6 on the power play and outshot the Stars 43-23. Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen made 36 saves.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff called the loss "embarrassing."

"That's probably the most disappointing [game] of the whole year," Ruff said. "We were outskated. We couldn't win 1-on-1 battles. They basically looked how we usually look. Their legs were better. Their energy level was better. Their puck management was better. That might have been our worst game of the year.

"It was a team giveaway."

There was some bad news for New York; starting goalie Evgeni Nabokov had to leave the game with a lower-body injury with 7:06 left in the first period. Nabokov did not return and Islanders coach Jack Capuano said he did not have an update on the goalie after the game. He also wasn't sure if Nabokov would be traveling to Toronto with the club.

Nabokov was placed on injured reserve and the Islanders recalled Anders Nilsson of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on an emergency loan.

Kevin Poulin came in and gave up a goal on the first shot he faced, but settled in and made 13 saves.

"I thought he responded really well," Capuano said.

The Stars, on the other hand, did not despite getting defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Trevor Daley back in the lineup. Gonchar missed the past six games with a concussion and Daley missed 14 in a row with an ankle injury.

Dallas had a 2-0 lead after the first period, but was outshot 14-10 and lost 11 of 19 faceoffs. The Islanders felt good about the way they played in the first period and were able to haunt the Stars in the second by ramping up their intensity and getting goals from Strome, Tavares and Regin within the first 9:29 to take a 3-2 lead.

Dallas rookie Valeri Nichushkin tied the game with a power-play goal at 15:28, but the Stars had no answer for Nelson's rush up the ice that led to his game-winning goal. He knifed through the neutral zone with speed, cut to the middle, made a move on Alex Goligoski to get some room and fired a quick, blocker-side shot from between the hash marks that beat Lehtonen with 28 seconds left in the period.

"For me it started in the second period with the one-on-one battles, the 50-50 pucks; we didn't win those battles," Ruff said. "I think the thing that I noticed was Daley looked the freshest of everybody and he's the guy who hasn't been playing. You factor where our team has been at with sickness and everything, and maybe we need a couple of days to recover because there hasn't been a game where we looked this slow, moved the puck and not been able to catch guys from behind."

The Islanders had everybody contributing; 12 of their 18 skaters finished with at least one point and 17 had at least one shot on goal. The only player not to register a shot was Calvin de Haan, but he had two assists.

New York won 63 percent of the faceoffs (45 for 72) and forced the Stars into 15 credited giveaways.

"Everybody fed off the energy, every line," Tavares said. "That's what makes for a successful team. We need to carry that over."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

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