Leading 2-1 to start the third period, the New York Islanders sensed an opportunity to take control of their game against the Colorado Avalanche.
They pounced immediately, as Anders Lee swept home a John Tavares feed 1:21 to start the frame, finishing a strong opening shift by the top line. From there, the Islanders didn't look back, netting two more in what ultimately became a 5-1 win over the Avalanche at Barclays Center.
"You have to step on throats, there's no doubt about it, especially playing at home," Interim Coach Doug Weight said. "You're a little worried going into that third period that if they get a break early, they get some belief. Our first line did it."
Lee added a second goal in the third period - his 21st of the season - and Jason Chimera potted the fifth and final tally. Nick Leddy posted a game-high three points (1G, 2A) - surpassing 200 NHL points in the process - while Tavares and Johnny Boychuk each contributed a pair of assists.
Video: COL@NYI: Lee bangs home a feed from Tavares in close
"We played a pretty good game tonight, anytime you put in five goals, it's a good offensive effort and we played well," Lee said. "Nice to come back after getting shut out yesterday and get two points."
As wide as the margin turned out on the scoreboard, the game was much tighter on the ice, especially through the first two periods. Joe Colborne put the Avalanche ahead 1-0 at 8:12 of the first period and even though Leddy tied the game shortly after, the Islanders were still mired in a 1-1 contest for the next 22:45.
Video: COL@NYI: Leddy beats Pickard with seeing-eye wrister
The deadlock broke late in the second period, as the Islanders took advantage of a 26 second five-on-three power play. They capitalized on the opportunity and the open ice, as Ryan Strome buried a tic-tac-toe passing play from Leddy and Tavares, putting the Islanders up 2-1 at 14:46.
"That was the second period and it was a nice goal, but there was still a lot of hockey left and we did a good job in the third period," Boychuk said.
Video: COL@NYI: Strome buries a feed from Tavares for PPG
The Islanders pressed immediately to start the third period. Josh Bailey was denied on a one-timer at the bottom of the right circle, but the top line continued to mount pressure, eventually leading to Tavares' cheeky drop pass to Lee in the crease for the 3-1 goal. Ten minutes later, Lee was the beneficiary of another good pass, as Boychuk faked a slap shot and put a slap pass right on Lee's tape for the top corner tip at 11:22. Chimera finished things off by chipping a shot through Calvin Pickard's legs at 13:48.
Video: COL@NYI: Lee redirects PPG for his second goal
"When you get the opportunity, you don't want to give them any life," Tavares said. "We did a good job of that early in the third."
JF Berube finished the game with 26 saves, while Pickard allowed five goals on 33 shots.
The Islanders return to action on Tuesday night, when they head to Toronto for a date with the Maple Leafs, who currently hold the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.