TORONTO — Matt Moulson and the New York Islanders needed a little time to get up to full speed.
The forward scored twice in his 248th straight NHL game, helping the Islanders overcome an early two-goal deficit in a 7-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
“I had a bunch of chances the last couple of games, but couldn’t get anything to go in,” Moulson said. “I just have to keep whacking away in front of the net. A lot of credit to my linemates for working hard and creating chances for me.”
Moulson, in his fifth NHL season and fourth with the Islanders, has yet to miss a game with New York. Only Billy Harris (576 games), Bob Nystrom (301) and Denis Potvin (262) have played in more consecutive contests in club history.
New York (2-1) trailed 3-1 after the first period, but gained momentum by killing off a late two-man disadvantage. After tying it with two goals in the second, the Islanders took control by scoring four times in the third in the opener of a five-game, eight-day trip.
“Killing that (5-on-3) penalty when we were down 3-1 late in the first period, you could look at that as a turning point for us,” said Islanders forward Brad Boyes, who had a goal against his former team. “If they get one there, it’s probably a much different game.”
Toronto (2-2) fell to 0-2 on home ice this season and returned to the Air Canada Centre following a solid 5-2 road victory in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. But that didn’t impress some among the ACC gathering of 19,125 who began chanting “Let’s go Blue Jays!” with 2:40 remaining.
“I think we saw one team last night and a totally different team tonight,” Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. “We were out of it, we were out of sync.
“I thought the first period was more a shinny period of hockey. We were skating but we weren’t really engaged in the game. We managed to get a 3-1 lead out of it but really the last 7, 8 minutes of the first period was the start of the way we finished the game.”
Toronto was 0 for 5 on the power play, going 0 for 2 with two-man advantages for a combined 52 seconds.
“It’s huge, it usually comes back to haunt you,” Carlyle said. “It you don’t score on your 5-on-3 at some point in the game usually momentum is going to turn in favor of the opposition.
“They get life from it and it sucks life from you.”
Michael Grabner also had two goals for New York, and Mark Streit and Keith Aucoin added goals.
Carl Gunnarsson, Nazem Kadri, Mikhail Grabovski and Matt Frattin scored for Toronto.
Grabner gave New York a 4-3 lead at 3:27 of the third, firing a wrist shot past Ben Scrivens for his second of the season before Aucoin scored his first just 1:08 later to put the Islanders ahead 5-3. That was it for Scrivens, who allowed five goals on 20 shots in his third start of the season.
“I was seeing the puck well and in good position,” Scrivens said. “Sometimes those things happen.
“You just have to focus on the process and keep playing games the way I feel I can and should play. It’s a journey ... it’s the only way you can look at it. It’s another learning experience and it’s a tough one to swallow but I’ll take what I can from it.”
Scrivens was replaced by James Reimer, who got the win in Pittsburgh. But Reimer was beaten cleanly by Moulson on a wrist shot at 11:20 for his second.
The Islanders were playing for the first time since beating Tampa Bay 4-3 on Monday night.
Marleau nets 2, leads Sharks past Coyotes 5-3
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Patrick Marleau scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:53 remaining for his third straight two-goal game, helping the San Jose Sharks rally from a two-goal deficit to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-3 in their home opener Thursday night. Logan Couture and Marty Havlat also scored and Joe Thornton had three assists and an empty-net goal for the Sharks, who have opened the season with three straight wins for the first time since 2008-09. Antti Niemi made 32 saves.
Steve Sullivan, Antoine Vermette and Lauri Korpikoski scored for the Coyotes, who were unable to hold onto a 3-1 lead in the third period on the back end of a back-to-back.
Marleau started San Jose’s comeback with a goal midway through the third and then beat Jason LaBarbera for the game-winner. Thornton started the play with a sharp up-ice pass to Joe Pavelski, who fed Marleau for the wrist shot.
The Coyotes seemed to take control with two goals in a span of 2:27 of the third to take a 3-1 lead. The outburst started when Sullivan came out of the penalty box to start a 15-second power play that Phoenix capitalized on. Sullivan’s shot was blocked but Vermette knocked the rebound past Niemi, who was off-balance after Shane Doan was knocked into him by a Sharks defender.
While Niemi had little chance to stop that shot, he did a poor job on Phoenix’s next goal when Korpikoski beat him to the short side from a bad angle to give the Coyotes a two-goal edge.
That proved to be short-lived as Marleau took a pass from Thornton in the slot and beat LaBarbera to make it 3-2. Havlat then got the equalizer when he knocked in a rebound with 6:54 remaining..