Tavares leads Islanders over Stars 4-2

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 12, 2014
John Tavares scored with 1:24 to go and Brock Nelson added an empty-netter, leading the streaking New York Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the slumping Dallas Stars on Sunday. Kyle Okposo had two goals in New York's fourth consecutive victory. The Islanders (18-22-7) also have won seven straight road games. The Islanders rallied past the Stars after trailing 2-0 after one period for the second time in a week. This time, New York scored three goals in the final 4:16. Dallas (20-18-7) has lost six in a row for the first time since March 2011. Ray Whitney and Sergei Gonchar scored first-period goals for the Stars against goalie Kevin Poulin, who finished with 29 saves. Tavares got a cross-ice pass from Calvin DeHaan and beat Dan Ellis from the right faceoff circle for his 21st goal of the season, including four against the Stars. Ellis scrambled to get back across the goal, and tried in vain to glove the puck before it went into the short side of the net. Okposo scored in the second, and tied it at 15:44 of the third with a drive from the top of the right faceoff circle. Ellis stopped 27 shots. The Stars' first goal was at 11:45 of the first period. Vernon Fiddler hustled in to pick up the puck against the back boards, and pushed it across to Alex Chiasson. He passed to Whitney skating into the left circle, and his shot went in past Poulin's left leg. Gonchar then intercepted a pass inside the blue line, skated to the top of the right circle and fired a shot inside the left post at 18:12. It was the first goal of Gonchar's 19th NHL season. Ellis stopped nine shots in the period to hold the Islanders scoreless. His best saves came on Thomas Vanek's drive from the left circle and Cal Clutterbuck's short-handed breakaway. The Islanders began their comeback in the second period. They nearly scored 9 minutes in, but Ellis stopped Colin McDonald's tip from in front of the net. Okposo then broke through for New York at 10:47 of the second, scoring from low in the right circle. Assists went to Vanek and Tavares, who combined for three goals and four assists in the first meeting between the teams. NOTES: In last Monday's game, Tavares tied a career high with five points. Vanek added two assists, but Okposo missed the game because of the birth of his first child. The line totaled three goals and three assists Sunday. . Vanek has at least one point in 11 of his last 12 games, with a total of 17 points. . The Stars' six consecutive losses all have been against Eastern Conference teams.
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