VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Rookie John Tavares broke out of a scoring slump with two goals and three assists, Dwayne Roloson made 35 saves, and the New York Islanders beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Tavares, the first pick in last summer's draft, burst into the NHL with rookie of the year expectations after 15 goals and 27 points in his first 32 games. But the 19-year-old came in with only three goals and nine points in his last 37 games before breaking out with his first five-point night.
Tavares made a nice play to set up defenseman Dylan Reese's first NHL goal 6:22 into the first period, then jammed in a power-play rebound — created by his own nice pass behind the net — 5 minutes later for his second goal in 22 games.
Tavares also set up Matt Moulson for his 26th this season, and Freddy Meyer in the second period before adding his second goal into an empty net with 2:20 left as the Islanders won their third straight game. New York remained seven points behind Boston for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
The Islanders went ahead 3-0 when Moulson redirected a spinning pass from Tavares through the crease behind Roberto Luongo with 4:30 left in the second period.
Kyle Wellwood responded on a rebound just over a minute later, and Alex Burrows pulled the Canucks within one goal with 1:25 left in the period, setting the stage for Vancouver to try to build on its NHL-leading 10 third-period comebacks.
Instead Roloson stopped Mason Raymond on a partial breakaway, and Meyer made it 4-2 with 7.6 seconds left in the period after Tavares took the puck hard to the net off the right wing. His sharp-angle shot deflected in off Meyer as he toppled towards the goal, and the Islanders held on to hand the Canucks their first home loss in eight games and just their eighth in regulation all season (25-8-1).
Luongo stopped eight shots before giving way to Andrew Raycroft to start the third period as Vancouver lost for the second time in nine games (6-2-1).
The Canucks were playing their third home game in four nights after returning from an NHL-record 14 straight road games while Vancouver hosted the Olympics. They seemed to run out of gas while being outshot 27-8 over the final two periods of Sunday's 3-1 win over Calgary, and had little early jump Tuesday.
After New York missed several great early chances and had one goal disallowed because the net was knocked off just before Bruno Gervais could bang in a loose puck, Tavares finally helped put the Islanders ahead. He drew three Canucks as he peeled off the boards and fed an open Reese at the point for a top corner shot Luongo never saw because Moulson was unchecked in front of the net.
After Tavares jammed a rebound through Luongo, Roloson made several great saves early in the second period before Moulson scored on New York s third shot.
NOTES: Islanders RW Blake Comeau extended his point streak to four games with an assist and now has five goals and 12 points in his last nine games. ... Canucks C Ryan Kesler had his point streak snapped at 13 games, ending the NHL's longest active run, but LW Daniel Sedin extended his streak to 11 games and twin brother Henrik's is now at six. ... Vancouver RW Mikael Samuelsson's run ended at seven games as he left the game during the third period for undisclosed reasons.