VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) The New York Islanders’ big comeback over the Vancouver Canucks in a seven-goal third period even caught them by surprise.
After all, in recent days it has been the Islanders who have let teams rally late to beat them.
Matt Martin scored the winner in the Islanders’ record-tying period, and New York erased a three-goal deficit in the final frame to beat the Canucks 7-4 on Monday night.
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The Islanders trailed 3-0 after the second.
”A 3-0 deficit going into the third period, we were pretty deflated,” Martin said. ”The coaches came in and made it clear we didn’t do enough in the second period and we didn’t play for one another, and if we didn’t pick up our game in the third period they’d have no problem taking guys out of the lineup.”
Martin made it 5-4 at 10:04 of the third for the Islanders.
Josh Bailey, Ryan Strome, Calvin de Haan, Frans Nielsen, Anders Lee and Cal Clutterbuck also scored for the Islanders (25-33-9), who scored four times in the first 6:22 of the third.
The Islanders tied the team record for goals in a period, matching the mark set in the second period of a 9-4 win over the New York Rangers on Dec. 23, 1978.
Chris Higgins, Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Chris Tanev scored for the Canucks (29-28-10), who lost for the 12th time in 14 games.
”This is a kick in the teeth,” Canucks coach John Tortorella said. ”It’s certainly going to take a little bit more than normal coach’s speak (to get) by this game.”
Evgeni Nabokov made 20 saves in the win. Eddie Lack stopped 21 shots for the Canucks.
The Islanders let two-goal leads get away in the third periods of losses to Edmonton and Calgary on consecutive nights last week.
New York went 2-1-1 on its four-game trip and improved to 8-22-2 when trailing after two periods this season. The Islanders are only 9-6-5 when leading after two.
”I don’t know that I’ve ever been a part of a game like that,” said Kyle Okposo, who had three assists. ”In the second period we were extremely flat.
”We came out in the third, and Bailey got a big goal for us. We smelled blood and rolled from there.”
New York’s first three goals came on power plays, and Nielsen’s scored right after another Vancouver penalty had expired.
”I’ve never been in a game like that as far as seeing a period like that, because we were playing so well going in,” Tortorella said. ”In between periods, we talked about the things we needed to do to nail that game down, but we really put ourselves in a jam with some bad penalties, and they gained momentum.”
Tortorella’s voice trailed off, before he continued his comments
”What could happen, happened,” he said. ”It’s been going on for a little while here, since eternity. But, somehow, we’ve got to try to put it behind us.”
Higgins opened the scoring on a power play at 15:46 of the first when he put in a backhand after Yannick Weber’s slap shot hit the post.
Henrik Sedin put the Canucks ahead 2-0 at 4:52 of the second as he put a shot in off Clutterbuck from behind the net for his first goal in 24 games.
Canucks rookie Nicklas Jensen, recently called up from the AHL, earned his first NHL point with an assist.
Kesler made it 3-0 about five minutes later when he put in Kevin Bieksa’s rebound off the goal post. Alex Burrows earned an assist for his 300th NHL point.
”Being up 3-0 and then blowing it like that, it’s embarrassing,” Kesler said.
Bailey started the comeback at 1:13 of the third while Jensen was serving a slashing penalty that carried over from the second period.
Strome and de Haan scored power-play goals 22 seconds apart to tie it.
”Our power play was huge,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. ”We made some adjustments. We got pucks to the net. That got us back in the game. I’ll give our guys credit, we were down bodies, but they had the will and determination.”
Nielsen put the Islanders ahead 4-3 just under three minutes later with a shot from the wing.
The crowd let out a huge roar of relief when Tanev tied it 4-4 at 9:54.
Martin, however, gave the Isles the lead only 10 seconds later on a backhand from the slot. Lee padded New York’s lead 1:44 after that.
Lee put in Okposo’s rebound off defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who had tended the goal while Lack was caught out of position following the initial save on the first of three New York shots.
”It’s was a very weird third period,” Lack said. ”It’s not only the (penalty killers’) fault, it’s my fault, too. I need to stop the puck, and I didn’t.”
Clutterbuck added an empty-net goal in the final minute.
NOTES: The Islanders had seven rookies in their lineup. … New York lost forward Michael Grabner late in the second period after he collided with Tanev. … Canucks forward Zack Kassian served the second of a three-game suspension. … Islanders D Thomas Hickey is the only player to dress for all of New York’s 67 games this season.