Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - John Tavares scored the winning goal in overtime with just 22 seconds remaining as the New York Islanders rallied for a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.
With time winding down, Tavares skated through the neutral zone then went down the right wing, cut to the front while beating two defenders and snapped the puck in for the victory.
"I just tried to gain some speed," said Tavares. "I saw the defenseman backed off and gave me a lane to the net. I was able to hesitate enough to open up Bernier and it trickled in."
Tavares and Tyler Kennedy each posted a goal and an assist while Frans Nielsen and Casey Cizikas also scored for the Islanders, who had lost three of four coming in. Michal Neuvirth stopped 22 shots in the win.
James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist with David Booth and Peter Holland also giving a goal for the Maple Leafs, who have lost their last three. Jonathan Bernier allowed all four goals on 44 shots in the loss.
"They've developed a lot of good young players and they're a real threat out there any night," said Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul about the Islanders. "They're right there with anyone else in the league."
The Islanders trailed, 2-0, entering the third and made it a one-goal game just 1:32 in as Tavares skated out from the left side of the net to the front before backhanding the puck back to the left circle where Kennedy shot it in.
Toronto got the goal back at 6:06 of the third when van Riemsdyk blocked a shot at the right point and skated the other way before beating Neuvirth with a wrister into the right corner for his 23rd goal of the season.
New York, though, made it a one-goal game at 9:58 on the power play off a right circle faceoff win that saw Nielsen sneak in a rebound from the left side, and the team tied the game 30 seconds later as Travis Hamonic threw a shot on net from the right point that Cizikas redirected in.
The Leafs took a 1-0 lead on a nice play by Booth, as he skated through the neutral zone and banked the puck off the right boards to get around a defender. Picking the puck back up in the zone, he used a heavy backhander from the right circle for his fourth of the season at 18:23 of the first.
It was a 2-0 game halfway through the second period when Richard Panik skated down the left wing and got a backhand on net, with the rebound going to the front where Holland collected it and snapped it in for his 11th of the season.
Toronto hosts Buffalo on Wednesday ... The Islanders host the Rangers on Tuesday ... Toronto center Nazem Kadri was scratched from the game because he was late to a meeting ... Kennedy played with the Isles for the first time since the team acquired him from San Jose on March 2. He had been out with an upper-body injury ... Toronto announced on Monday that defenseman Roman Polak needs season-ending hernia surgery. The team recalled defenseman Petter Granberg from Toronto of the AHL on an emergency basis.