John Tavares had two goals and an assist Thursday as the New York Islanders rallied past Toronto 5-3 on Thursday and moved within two points of the Maple Leafs for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
The Islanders overcame an early 2-0 deficit to win the first of five straight road games they will play to end the regular season. They improved to 13-5-2 away from home, and earned their fifth win in six games as they chase their first playoff berth since 2007.
Brad Boyes, with a goal and two assists, Matt Moulson and Frans Nielsen also scored for New York.
Cody Franson, Joffrey Lupul and Dion Phaneuf scored for the Leafs, who were solidly outshot 38-21 Phil Kessel, appearing in his 500th career NHL game, added three assists.
Toronto will have to wait to clinch its first playoff berth since 2004. The Leafs could have ended their postseason drought with a win over the Islanders and a Carolina victory over the Winnipeg Jets, but instead dropped to 13-8-2 at home with a second stra...