Saturday, February 16, 2013 9:59 pm
Tavares hat trick leads Isles past Devils 5-1
The Associated Press
Matt Moulson had a goal and three assists, Michael Grabner scored with 35 seconds left, and Evgeni Nabokov made 30 saves for the Islanders, who beat the Rangers 4-3 in a shootout Thursday night.
Tavares, who notched his fourth career hat trick, has 20 points in 14 games. Moulson finished with four points, and Brad Boyes had two assists.
The Devils' lone goal was Marek Zidlicky's power play slap shot 8:47 into the third. Johan Hedberg made 28 saves for New Jersey, which has lost two of its last three.
Tavares' tap-in of Boyes' rebound opened the scoring 16:46 into the second. Hedberg couldn't control Boyes' wrister and Tavares slammed the loose puck into the half-empty net.
Tavares doubled the lead to 2-0 1:23 later with his second of the game and 10th of the season. With New York on a power play, Tavares and Moulson played give-and-go, and the sequence ended with Tavares jamming a loose puck under Hedberg.
Moulson pushed the Islanders' advantage to 3-0 57 seconds later with his seventh of the season. Tavares finished off his hat trick by zipping a power-play laser over Hedberg with 5:15 left in regulation.
It was a tightly contested goaltending showdown early. Hedberg robbed Boyes 1:06 into the game with a diving snare of an off-wing wrister. He also benefited from a bit of good fortune as Ullstrom's backhand penalty shot attempt with 3:15 left in the first hit the crossbar.
Nabokov was every bit his counterpart's equal. His most difficult save was a doorstep stuff attempt off the stick of Ryan Carter in the first period.
New York went 3 for 6 on the power play, while New Jersey was 1 for 4 on the man advantage.
NOTES: The announced attendance was 15,488. . The teams have split the first four games of the regular-season series. They will meet once more this season, at the Prudential Center on April 1. . Tavares' first goal ended Hedberg's shutout streak against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum this season at 96:46. . New Jersey scratched Mark Fayne, Peter Harrold and Stefan Matteau. Eric Boulton, Thomas Hickey and Marty Reasoner were New York's scratches.