Nelson’s third-period hat trick leads Isles past Stars 4-2
NEW YORK (AP) — Brock Nelson scored three times in the third period for his fourth career hat trick, Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves and the New York Islanders topped the Dallas Stars 4-2 on Saturday.
Ryan Pulock also scored for New York, which extended its point streak to six games and won for the fifth time in six games.
Denis Gurianov and Jacob Peterson each had a goal and an assist, but the Stars lost for the fourth time in five games. Jake Oettinger made 21 saves in his 33rd appearance this season.
Nelson scored twice within a span of 1:38 to give the Islanders a two-goal advantage in the early portion of the third period.
“From early days of the season, we said that we believe in this group and knew we had the potential to sort of rip off a stretch like this,” Nelson said. ”This group still has all belief in the world that we can go out there and compete with anybody and beat every team every night.”
He broke a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal at 4:17 of the third. Oettinger was able to get his shoulder on the initial shot, but the puck had enough velocity to trickle across the goal line. Noah Dobson and Mathew Barzal assisted.
The Islanders stretched their lead to 3-1 when Anthony Beauvillier slid a puck through the crease to set up Nelson for a one-timer at 5:55. Anders Lee picked up the secondary assist and extended his individual point streak to seven games.
Nelson completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal at 19:40 and set a career high with 27 goals this season.
Peterson trimmed the Stars’ deficit to 3-2 with his 10th of the season at 11:39 of the third period. Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield failed to control possession below the goal line and the puck squirted to Peterson in the slot. Tyler Seguin and Gurianov assisted.
Dallas had a chance to tie it at 3 in the final minutes of the third, but Varlamov denied Peterson’s opportunity from the slot to preserve the Islanders’ one-goal advantage.
“I thought we created many chances,” Stars forward Michael Raffl said. “We didn’t capitalize. Happens sometimes.”
Varlamov capped a strong 12-save first period with an impressive left pad save in the closing seconds on Raffl’s backhand attempt.
“First couple minutes, last couple minutes of periods are always important for momentum,” Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech said. “It was a huge save, and definitely a turning point for us.”
Pulock opened the scoring with a blast from along the boards at 3:16 of the second period. Cal Clutterbuck’s aggressive forecheck led to the Islanders keeping possession in the offensive zone before Pulock’s slap shot sailed between the legs of Oettinger.
“We’ve been more consistent like ourselves and we’re doing the little things,” Pulock said. “Guys are winning draws, guys are blocking shots, guys are finding ways to get pucks out and just doing those little things that are important and give you a chance to win.”
Gurianov evened the score at 1 with a one-time blast from the slot at 18:46 of the second period. Mayfield tried to jump a long outlet pass, but Peterson was able to corral the puck and create an odd-man rush opportunity that Dallas capitalized on.
Before the equalizer, Josh Bailey had a scoring opportunity to extend the Islanders’ edge to 2-0, but Oettinger’s steady play between the pipes kept the Star’s deficit at one goal.
“If you play like that, the points will come,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said.
REMEMBERING JEAN POTVIN
The Islanders honored the late Jean Potvin before the game with a video tribute followed by a moment of silence.
Potvin, 72, died from a non-COVID-19 related illness Tuesday. He was a member of the Islanders from the 1972-73 season through 1977-78 and rejoined the club for two Stanley Cup winning seasons in 1979-80 and 1980-81.
CHILD-FRIENDLY EXPERIENCE AT UBS
The Islanders and Nickelodeon teamed up to create a multiplatform experience for the fans.
Nickelodeon-themed activation spaces were scattered throughout the concourses at UBS Arena for fans to enjoy, including: a Nick Jr. coloring station for kids with themed giveaways, a slime station where fans can assemble their own exclusive jar of slime, and a photo opportunity on Nickelodeon’s famed Snick Big Orange Couch! Islanders event presentation and social staff also participated with cool graphics on the ice and on the team’s social channels.
Islanders: Visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.
Stars: Visit the Washington Capitals to conclude a four-game road trip Sunday.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports