Islanders blast Stars 7-3 behind captain’s hat trick

Posted Monday, Jan. 06, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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New York Islanders center John Tavares scored a hat trick and added an assist to help propel his team to a 7-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Monday night.

In addition to a strong performance from their captain, highly touted rookie center Ryan Strome scored the first goal of his NHL career.

With the Islanders on the power play early in the second period trailing 2-0, Strome got his squad on the board by putting a wrist shot past Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen — one of four Islanders goals in the frame. That goal opened the floodgates for the Islanders, who went on to score six goals over a 24:38 span. Peter Regin, Brock Nelson, and Brian Strait also scored for New York.

Dallas built its lead on first-period goals by Jamie Benn and Erik Cole. But Lehtonen couldn’t make the margin stick. In total, he gave up seven goals on 43 shots.

Jamie Benn opened the scoring for Dallas at the 5:01 mark of the first period, putting a backhander past Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabakov to put the Stars on the board. Shortly after, Nabakov was forced to leave the game after suffering what appeared to be a groin injury. Kevin Poulin replaced Nabakov and yielded the Stars’ second tally almost instantly when Erik Cole coaxed a soft backhander in from just shy of the blue line.

After Strome opened the scoring for the Islanders, they evened the contest on a goal by Tavares at the 7:29 mark of the second. They took a 3-2 lead just 2 minutes later thanks to Regin, who notched just his second score of the season. Valeri Nichuskin then tied it for Dallas by scoring on the power play. But Brock Nelson capped off a frenetic second period by scoring with 28 seconds left in the frame to put the Islanders back on top 4-3.

Tavares completed his hat trick by scoring at the 6:19 and 16:53 marks in the third period. Thomas Vanek had two assists to extend his point streak to nine consecutive games.

The Stars activated defensemen Trevor Daley and Sergei Gonchar from injured reserve prior to the game. Daley had missed the last 14 games with a lower body injury, while Gonchar sat out the last five due to concussion-like symptoms.

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