RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — New York Islanders forward John Tavares is a first-time NHL All-Star, and he can thank the Carolina Hurricanes for being a big part of his success.
In the first game following the All-Star break, Tavares had two goals and two assists in New York’s 5-2 victory over the Hurricanes on Tuesday night. Tavares has nine of his 53 points this season against Carolina.
“I try to approach each game with the same mindset and same work ethic,” Tavares said. “Obviously, you get to know the teams and who you’re playing against, but I just try to go off my hard work. My linemates have been phenomenal.”
Tavares scored the winner at 7:36 of the third period and later added the Islanders’ second empty-netter of the game. Tavares has 22 goals for the Islanders, who snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.
“It’s a big two points for us for where we are in the standings,” Tavares said.
P.A. Parenteau and Matt Moulson scored power-play goals to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead after two periods.
“I think we haven’t had a power play in the last two games so it’s nice to get some,” Moulson said. “We capitalized on them and that was the difference in the game.”
Carolina hadn’t allowed a power-play goal in the previous eight games.
“The last two or three weeks we’ve been good on the PK,” Carolina forward Jussi Jokinen said. “Tonight it was the difference. We’ve got to find the loose pucks and get them out.”
Carolina rallied with goals from Brandon Sutter and Tim Brent early in the third period to tie it at 2 before Tavares halted the Hurricanes’ comeback.
“We didn’t come out with the start that we wanted,” Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. “After the first we were still down, just down, but in the game. We had a a tough second. There wasn’t much opportunity, but we had our best period in the third.”
Kyle Okposo made it 4-2 with 1:22 left in the game with New York’s first empty-net goal. Kevin Poulin made 21 saves to earn his first win of the season for the Islanders.
“We played a great first period and had a couple of other chances,” Poulin said. “In the second period we shut them down.”
Parenteau scored for the second straight game and has seven points in six games. He took advantage of Jay Harrison’s penalty for delay of game 5:49 into the game.
Moulson’s goal at 16:19 of the second gave the Islanders a two-goal cushion. Moulson got the puck in the slot off the stick of Carolina’s Eric Staal and flick a shot past goalie Cam Ward.
“It was a very generous bounce,” said Moulson, who leads the Islanders with 23 goals. “When you’re getting pucks to the net you’re going to get the bounces.”
Carolina tried to get back in the game with a strong push early in the third period.
Sutter made it 2-1 at 3:15 of the third with help from defenseman Tim Gleason, who earned his 100th NHL assist one day after signing a four-year contract extension with the Hurricanes.
Brent tied it with a power-play goal after Poulin got caught out of the net at 6:55.
Tavares answered 41 seconds later when Ward was out of position while trying to play the puck outside the crease.
NOTES: The Islanders were 2 for 4 on the power play. … New York D Mark Streit had two assists and posted his sixth multipoint game of the season. … Moulson has seven goals and 10 assists in his last 14 games. … Gleason, now under contract through the 2015-16 season, could have become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)