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Islanders 5, Devils 1

The SportsXchange

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- John Tavares registered his fourth career hat trick and scored the first two goals of New York's three-goal outburst in the second period as the Islanders defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-1 on Saturday night in front of an announced crowd of 15,488 at Nassau Coliseum.

Tavares, who last had a hat trick on Oct. 15, 2011, against the Rangers, extended his goal-scoring streak to five games for the Islanders (6-7-1), who won their second straight to move within two points of eighth place in the East. Matt Moulson scored the Islanders' third goal.

The Devils (9-3-3) remained a point ahead of idle Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Division.

The win was just the second at home this season for the Islanders, who got a bit of payback after their loss to the Devils the last time the two teams played on Feb. 3. The Devils won that game 3-0 by scoring three goals in a span of 3:30 late in the third period.

The Islanders, who also scored three goals in Thursday's come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Rangers, outshot the Devils 14-5 in the second period and finally began breaking through when Tavares put back a rebound of a shot by Brad Boyes with 3:14 left.

Just 83 seconds later, Tavares scored again -- this time on the power play -- when he dished the puck to Moulson, whose shot to the right of the net glanced off Devils goalie Johan Hedberg and to Tavares, who again poked the deflection past Hedberg.

The Islanders extended the lead to 3-0 with 54 seconds left in the period with another power-play goal when Boyes corralled a loose puck behind the Devils' net and fired it to Moulson, who beat Hedberg from point-blank range.

Marek Zidlicky put the Devils on the board with 11:13 left when his slap shot from the right faceoff circle bounced off the wrist padding of Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov. That ended Nabokov's bid for his 53rd career shutout and his first since Feb. 7, 2012, but he was otherwise impressive in a 30-save performance.

Tavares put the game away for the Islanders and completed the hat trick when he beat Hedberg with a slap shot from the right circle with 5:15 left.

The Islandres scored their final goal when a loose puck ticked off the skate of Zidlicky and trickled into the net in the final minute. The goal was credited to Michael Grabner.

Hedberg had 28 saves for the Devils.

The Devils outshot the Islanders 15-9 in the first period, but it was the Islanders who had the best chance to score after David Ullstrom was awarded a penalty shot after he was hooked from behind by Henrik Tallinder on a breakaway with 3:15 left. Ullstrom beat Hedberg, but his shot clanked off the top of the post and fell into the goalmouth, where Hedberg pounced on it.

NOTES: After playing four times in the season's first 29 days, the Islanders and Devils don't play again until April 1. ... Devils minor league winger Mattias Tedenby needed plastic surgery after he was hit in the face by an opponent's skate while playing for Albany of the AHL on Friday night. Tedenby opened the season with the Devils but hasn't played in the NHL since Jan. 27 due to a hip injury. ... Saturday marked the end of the Devils' third set of back-to-back games this season. They have seven back-to-back sets remaining. ... Islanders defenseman Matt Carkner missed his fifth straight game with a lower body injury but is expected to return against the Flyers on Monday afternoon. ... The Islanders fell to 0-2 in penalty shots this year with Ullstrom's miss. They are 1 of 8 on penalty shots dating to February 2011.

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