Bertuzzi, a former Islanders’ first-round pick, scored three goals to reach 500 NHL points and lead the Vancouver Canucks to an 8-1 victory Saturday night.
He scored twice on Vancouver’s first three shots en route to his fifth career hat trick and helped chase goalie Rick DiPietro.
The good feeling the Islanders generated Thursday night in interim coach Brad Shaw’s NHL debut was lost quickly as the Canucks built a three-goal lead in the first 11 minutes. Vancouver scored three more goals in the second period, two against DiPietro and one against Wade Dubielewicz—9 seconds after he came in.
“Bert was dominant especially early on when it mattered most,” said Alex Auld, who earned first-star honors by making 36 saves. “You could tell it was an inspired effort.”
Shaw, who will coach the team the rest of the season, led the Islanders over Calgary on Thursday just hours after predecessor Steve Stirling was fired and general manager Mike Milbury said he would step down once a replacement is found.
New York lost for the ninth time in 11 games. It was the Islanders’ worst defensive effort at home this season and Vancouver’s best on offense overall.
“We played Calgary with emotion and desire, and we didn’t have any of that tonight,” forward Mark Parrish said. “Mentally, either we weren’t prepared or we weren’t thinking out there. This theme is getting old.”
If the score wasn’t bad enough, the bulk of the damage was done by Bertuzzi, who had his second three-goal game since returning from a 17-month suspension for punching former Colorado forward Steve Moore in the head.
Bertuzzi, the Islanders’ top pick in 1993, was traded to Vancouver during his third season in what is widely considered one of Milbury’s worst deals in his decade-long tenure. New York received Trevor Linden, who spent one-plus seasons with the Islanders and is now back with the Canucks.
“Obviously there is still something there from what happened way in the past but it’s not something that I think about,” said Bertuzzi, who has 213 goals and 501 points.
The 14,203 fans in the stands were left to unleash nonspecific boos at their unproductive team. With Stirling already fired and Milbury on his way out, there was no remaining villain to chant against. They resorted to cheers of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” in the third period.
DiPietro didn’t have much chance on several of the goals he allowed in his second game back after missing five with a knee injury. In addition to Bertuzzi’s two, the U.S. Olympic goalie also allowed one to Anson Carter at 10:39 of the first.
“We’re on a downward slide, and things have to change quickly,” DiPietro said. “It’s frustrating. Every time we take a step in the right direction, we immediately take a step backward.”
Auld lost his shutout bid when Alexei Zhitnik scored 2:06 into the final period.
“This roller coaster thing doesn’t work,” Shaw said. “We had only a handful of guys who played to expectations and gave to the team.”
Bertuzzi, who had gone 10 games without a goal, opened the scoring at 4:29 after Matt Cooke found him with a pass from behind the net. Bertuzzi scored again 1:46 later, with the right winger converting on Vancouver’s two-man advantage that was created by DiPietro’s delay-of-game penalty.
Carter, who had two goals, stretched the lead to 3-0 after twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin set him up.
New York held a 12-7 shots advantage in the period. And the middle frame was worse.
Bryan Allen gave the Canucks a 4-0 lead at 5:35, sending DiPietro to the bench after making only nine saves on 13 shots.
Vancouver got the puck deep after the ensuing faceoff, and Dubielewicz went behind the net to play it. He showed indecision while facing the glass, and Carter swooped in to knock the puck off his stick and in front to Henrik Sedin, who scored into an empty net.
Bertuzzi scored his 15th goal, a power-play tally, with 2:26 left in the period and Carter and Jarkko Ruutu scored in the third period to give the Canucks their fourth win in five games. They allowed three third-period goals at New Jersey on Friday in a 3-0 loss.
“It’s something that our team needed,” Bertuzzi said. “We needed to have a breakout like this and get everyone’s confidence up.”
Vancouver was 3-for-9 on the power play but was outshot 37-31. … Before scoring three goals at Detroit last Nov. 13, Bertuzzi hadn’t had a hat trick since March 17, 2003. … RW Arron Asham played his 200th game with the Islanders.