The Anaheim Ducks are the latest team to take advantage of the New York Islanders' inability to hold a two-goal lead.
The Ducks stretched their winning streak to a franchise-record eight games by scoring four times in the third period for a 5-3 victory at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night. Ryan Getzlaf scored a hat trick and assisted on the go-ahead goal. Kyle Palmieri, who scored the overtime winner for the Ducks against the New Jersey Devils on Friday, broke a 3-3 tie by beating Evgeni Nabokov with 6:16 remaining.
Getzlaf completed his hat trick by hitting the empty net with 22 seconds remaining.
The victory moved the Ducks (26-7-5) into first place in the overall standings with 57 points, one more than the Chicago Blackhawks and two more than the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins.
"It was big," Getzlaf said of the victory. "Our group did a great job keeping our composure throughout this game. We were able to come back and win the third period like we wanted to."
The Islanders led 3-1 after two periods. But for the sixth time this season, they were unable to turn a two-goal advantage into two points. All six games have come at home. New York has been outscored 43-22 in the third-period this season and is 4-3-3 when leading after 40 minutes.
Mathieu Perreault got the tying goal midway through the third period before Palmieri jumped on a loose puck after a faceoff, swept across the front of the crease and scored his sixth goal of the season, beating Nabokov with a backhander.
Thomas Vanek scored twice and Frans Nielsen once for the Islanders, who have lost eight of 10 games this month.
Rookie Frederick Andersen made 18 saves for Anaheim.
"It’s a nice team win, to come back like that and turning the page after the second period," he said. "We got back to our strengths. Everyone refocused and we knew we could get at least two goals on them in the third. Everyone battled hard to get the goals to win."
Andersen became just the third goaltender in NHL history to earn nine (or more) wins in his first 10 games, joining Frank Brimsek of Boston (9-1-0, Nov. 3-Dec. 20, 1938) and Bob Froese of Philadelphia (9-0-1, Jan. 8-Feb. 2, 1983).
*Elias Sports Bureau
The Islanders, who won in regulation for the first time since Nov. 12 by beating the New York Rangers on Friday night, grabbed the lead 11:27 into the opening period. John Tavares won an offensive-zone draw back to defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who slipped a pass to Kyle Okposo in the high slot. Andersen stopped Okposo's blast through traffic but couldn't control the rebound, and Vanek snapped it home from just outside the crease.
After New York outshot Anaheim 9-8 in the first period, the Ducks dominated most of the second and outshot the Islanders 10-5 but came out down two goals after a late-period letdown.
Anaheim spent the first 15 minutes of the period firing away at Nabokov and finally tied the game with 4:50 left in the period. Getzlaf missed the net from the slot but got his own rebound off the end boards and backhanded a shot that hit Nabokov and slid into the net.
The Ducks looked to be poised to take the lead after Tavares was called for holding 43 seconds later. But the Islanders killed the penalty easily and scored two seconds after Tavares stepped out of the box when Vanek raced down the right side and blew a slap shot past Andersen from the faceoff dot. It was his 13th of the season and third in two games.
Nielsen gave the Islanders a 3-1 lead 57 seconds later. Josh Bailey's pass sprung Nielsen down the right side, and his backhander from below the dot got past Andersen as Michael Grabner crashed the crease, bringing a defenseman with him.
Getzlaf gave got the Ducks within a goal 1:10 into the third period by following his own shot. He fired from the left point into traffic in front of Nabokov, went to the slot, picked up a loose puck and slammed it into the net for his 18th of the season.
Perreault tied the game at 10:28. The Ducks won a faceoff after an icing, and he went to the net to fire Daniel Winnik's pass from the right boards past Nabokov for his seventh of the season.