UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP)—Even goalie Rick DiPietro appreciated this old-style shootout.
Mariusz Czerkawski had a goal and two assists within 2:17 late in the third period and Adrian Aucoin capped New York’s incredible comeback by scoring 36 seconds into overtime, lifting the Islanders to a wild 5-4 victory Tuesday night over the Vancouver Canucks.
“We could have slumped our heads down two goals, but we came back,” said DiPietro, who made 21 saves in the victory. “This was one of the best games I’ve seen in a long time.”
Aucoin, the Islanders’ lone All-Star, took advantage of a double minor for high-sticking called against Vancouver’s Trevor Linden in the final minute of regulation. The Islanders scored four goals in the final 3:51 to turn around a 3-1 deficit and win for the 19th time in 28 home games (19-8-1).
“This is what every fan loves—a barnburner right down to the wire,” Aucoin said. “I don’t blame any fans who left early. We stunk the joint out.”
For the Canucks, it was their second straight tough loss. Vancouver rallied from a 3-1 hole in the third period Monday against the New York Rangers, only to give up a late goal and have a five-game winning streak snapped.
The Canucks were 19-0 when leading after two periods.
“We played real well for 55 minutes,” Linden said. “I don’t know if there’s any way to explain what happened at the end.”
Henrik set up twin brother, Daniel, with 7:07 left in the third to give the Canucks a 3-1 lead. But the Islanders roared back.
Czerkawski cut down the slot to deflect in Peca’s shot to make it 3-2 with 4:15 left. Then he made a nice pass into the slot to Arron Asham, who scored at 16:52. It took only 1:10 more for Peca to take a pass from Czerkawski and make it 4-3.
“It is fun,” Peca said of the Islanders’ second straight win when trailing after 40 minutes. “I think that people enjoy watching the Western Conference over the Eastern Conference because it’s more wide open.”
The Canucks won the first two games on their five-game Eastern swing, but are 2-2 on the trip that concludes Thursday at New Jersey. Vancouver has still won 10 times in 13 road games.
“We managed to get a point from here, and even though it’s not two, it’s fine,” Bertuzzi said. “We have a never-say-die attitude, and we showed that when we tied it.”
New York has won the most home games among Eastern Conference teams and has earned points in six straight games (4-0-1-1). The Islanders were 0-17-2 when trailing after two periods before Saturday.
Grenier and Brookbank entered with only one NHL goal between them, scored by Brookbank Saturday at Washington.
It was Grenier’s first point in 12 career games. He had four goals, seven points and 109 penalty minutes in 28 games this season with Manitoba of the AHL. Brookbank has two points in the NHL, both goals, in 16 games. He has 59 penalty minutes with the Canucks, including the 10 he received during his debut Jan. 3.
The Islanders didn’t record a shot until only 3:28 remained in the first, and yielded 11 before then.
“We were on our heels early. We gave them too much respect,” Peca said. “We thought they might be tiring out, so we made sure to step it up later.”
Johan Hedberg stopped 23 saves in his second game since Dec. 9.
Vancouver LW Markus Naslund, who leads the NHL with 65 points, was chosen to be captain of the Western Conference All-Stars. … Henrik Sedin has seven goals and 14 assists in his last 22 games. Daniel has four goals and 10assists in 14 games. … Czerkawski hadn’t scored in eight games.