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Tavares tallies five points as Islanders crush Stars

Jan 7, 2014 - 4:14 AM
Uniondale, NY ( - John Tavares recorded his fifth career hat trick and tied a career-high with five points, as the New York Islanders used their highest offensive output of the season to claim a 7-3 win over the Dallas Stars on Monday at Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes, but got a goal apiece from Peter Regin, Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson and Brian Strait, along with all three of Tavares' tallies, to run away with their fourth win in five games.

"A lot of guys did great things," Tavares said. "I was just happy I was able to capitalize."

Evgeni Nabokov got the start in net for New York, but left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. Kevin Poulin took over between the pipes and stopped 13 shots to pick up the victory.

With the Islanders scheduled to visit Toronto on Tuesday, the team placed Nabokov on injured reserve with a lower-body injury and recalled netminder Anders Nilsson from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League on emergency basis.

Jamie Benn, Valeri Nichushkin and Erik Cole each scored once for the Stars, who have given up 18 goals during their current three-game slide.

Kari Lehtonen allowed all seven goals on 43 shots in the setback.

"That's probably the most disappointing [game] of the whole year," Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said. "Their legs were better. Their energy level was better. Their puck management was better. That might have been our worst game of the year."

Benn and Cole each found the back of the net in the first frame to put the Stars on top, but the Isles answered with four goals in the second, starting with Strome's first NHL marker at 1:41 with the Isles on the power play.

New York pulled even at 7:29 after Tavares forced a turnover deep in the Dallas zone and made his way to the front of the net before accepting a no- look, backhand feed from Thomas Vanek and burying the disc in the back of the net to tie the game.

Nearly two minutes later, Josh Bailey fired a shot from the low right circle that was blocked, but Bailey jumped on the disc and quickly dished to Regin, who one-timed the puck home from in front for a 3-2 lead at 9:29.

Nichushkin potted a power-play marker at 15:28 to retie the tilt, but Nelson tickled the twine with a wrister from between the circles with 27.5 seconds left in the period to put the Islanders back on top.

New York extended its edge early in the third when Strait's shot from just above the left circle sailed past the far side of Lehtonen for a 5-3 lead at 1:24.

Tavares took over from there, netting a pair of power-play goals to provide Poulin with plenty of breathing room.

The first marker saw Tavares pick up the puck in the left corner and make his way to the front of the net without much resistance before stuffing a backhander past Lehtonen at 6:19.

Tavares finished his hat trick with a blast from the high slot that slipped under the pads of Lehtonen at 16:53.

Early on, Benn forced a turnover deep in the New York zone and lit the lamp from the low right circle at 5:01 of the first.

Nabokov left the game shortly after, as he sprawled to make a pad save before grabbing for his right hip/side area.

Poulin entered at 7:06 and watched the first shot he faced find the back of the net, as Cole wheeled around in the high slot before sneaking a shot through a screen and past the blocker side of Poulin for a 2-0 lead.

Game Notes

Tavares recorded his 300th career point ... Vanek recorded two assists to extend his point streak to a career-high nine games ... Dallas activated defensemen Trevor Daley and Sergei Gonchar from injured reserve prior to the game ... Dallas had won four straight at the Coliseum ... New York forward Kyle Okposo missed the game to attend the berth of his first child ... New York's Calvin de Haan and Andrew MacDonald each had two assists.