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Saturday, February 16, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Isles 5, Devils 1

By Katie Strang

At a glance: John Tavares recorded his fourth career hat trick, leading the Islanders to their second consecutive victory with a 5-1 win over the Devils at the Nassau Coliseum Saturday night. Both Tavares and linemate Matt Moulson finished with four points each as they knocked off their second divisional opponent in three nights. A three-goal outburst late in the second period fueled the way for the Islanders, who also tallied three power-play goals on the night. Entering Saturday's game ranking first in the Eastern Conference, the Devils have now dropped two of their last three games.

Still streaking: Tavares snapped a scoreless tie late in the second period, burying a Brad Boyes rebound to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games. Tavares then notched two power-play goals, one late in the second to extend the Isles lead 2-0, then another in the third to lock up the 4-1 win.

Bad move, Bryce: Tavares’ second of the night came after an ill-advised penalty landed Devils captain Bryce Salvador in the box. Salvador put his team down a man after chopping at Islanders forward Matt Martin behind the net with a high stick at 17:51. Salvador’s fellow defenseman Henrik Tallinder then took a tripping penalty a little more than a minute later which resulted in the Isles’ second power-play goal.

Power surge: With a 2-0 Isles lead, Moulson scored another man-up goal, the team’s second in a span of 57 seconds late in the middle frame. Tavares then earned the hat trick with a blistering wrist shot that zipped past Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg in the third. The Islanders’ power-play unit has been one of its strongest assets this season. Before the trio of power-play markers Saturday, the team entered the game ranked 6th in the league with a 25% completion rate.

Free shot: David Ullstrom was awarded the Islanders’ second penalty shot this season after being tripped up on a breakaway in the first period. The 23-year-old Swede’s backhanded attempt just missed, clanking off the cross-bar at 16:45 of a scoreless game.

Up Next: Islanders vs. Flyers Monday at 1 p.m.; Devils vs. Senators Monday at 1 p.m.