UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — John Tavares scored a goal and added an assist, and Evgeni Nabokov made 29 saves to lead the New York Islanders to a 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
Andrew MacDonald and Brian Rolston also scored for New York, which snapped a three-game losing streak. The Islanders had dropped four in a row at home (0-3-1) since a 5-1 victory against Tampa Bay on Dec. 6.
Tim Jackman scored the lone goal for the Flames, and Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 31 shots, but Calgary had its four-game winning streak broken.
Jackman gave the Flames a 1-0 just 1:11 in by shoving a rebound of Brendan Morrison’s shot, that ricocheted off MacDonald’s skate, past Nabokov.
Kiprusoff and Nabokov, both former San Jose Sharks goalies, then hooked up in a spectacular duel. Nabokov stoned Jarome Iginla on a first period breakaway, and Kiprusoff poke-checked the puck off of Tavares’ stick when he charged in on him late in the second period.
The game was unusually chippy for teams from opposing conferences. Both clubs engaged in trash talk after whistles, and emotions boiled over when Lee Stempniak shouldered New York’s Kyle Okposo late in the first period. Matt Moulson raced over to defend his teammate, and a 5-on-5 melee ensued. After the players were separated, Moulson received four minutes for roughing, and Calgary’s Chris Butler was given two minutes in penalties.
New York killed the power play and tied the game 3:04 into the second when MacDonald’s shot from the slot beat Kiprusoff.
The game stayed tied until Tavares sped down the left wing boards, cut toward the net and tucked the puck past an outstretched Kiprusoff 3:20 into the third to make it 2-1.
Only Moulson has scored more goals this season for the Islanders than Tavares, and only P.A. Parenteau has more assists and points. Tavares has 12 goals and 29 points.
Rolston added an empty-net goal with 43 seconds left.
The game marked Blake Comeau’s return to Long Island. Calgary claimed Comeau off waivers from the Islanders on Nov. 25. Comeau, who had no points in 16 games this season with New York has two goals and three assists in 17 contests with Calgary.
New York, which outshot the Flames 33-30, was 0 for 1 on the power play. Calgary went 0 for 2.
NOTES: This was the only meeting this season between the teams, who have faced off against each other only since times since the 2004-05 lockout. The Islanders are 5-1 in those meetings, including 3-0 at home. — The Flames are in the midst of a seven-game road trip as Calgary hosts the world junior hockey championship. — The announced attendance was 14,819. — The Islanders got back to .500 in their history, improving to 1,325-1,325-347-80.