NEW YORK -- Boston Bruins goalie Jonas Gustavsson gave himself a nice birthday present Friday.
Gustavsson made 23 saves to help the Bruins defeat the New York Islanders 5-3 at Barclays Center, a day before turning 31.
"It's better than most presents I get," Gustavsson said. "A win is always nice. It's better to celebrate the birthday with a win."
Gustavsson was making his second start in four games for the Bruins. He made 16 saves in the first period, holding the Islanders to two goals despite numerous chances.
"He was good," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "That first period and throughout the whole game he played well. … He's given us more confidence to not overutilize [Tuukka Rask] and give him some games."
Boston (3-3-1) is 3-0-0 on the road, outscoring its opponents 16-8.
"Hopefully [this] was a great example to build on, and now we have to bring that same game at home," Julien said. "We've been good on the road with our efforts and we have to be better at home."
New York (4-2-1) had won four in a row, including three in Brooklyn.
"We just stopped playing," Islanders forward Casey Cizikas said. "We didn’t compete hard enough. We didn't do the little things to win those 1-on-1 battles and we kind of left [goalie Jaroslav] Halak to hang there. You have to play a full 60 minutes."
Brett Connolly scored at 9:51 of the first period to give Boston a 1-0 lead. The Bruins dumped the puck into the Islanders zone, and Brad Marchand passed the puck into the slot, where Connolly's snap shot beat Halak.
The Islanders, who outshot Boston 18-8 in the period, scored the next two goals. Josh Bailey scored on a power play at 14:08 to tie the game 1-1; John Tavares' shot from the right circle was stopped by Gustavsson but the rebound came right to Bailey.
Tavares has a five-game point streak (three goals, six assists).
New York took a 2-1 lead 1:19 later on Cizikas' first goal of the season. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk passed the puck to Cizikas in front.
Joonas Kemppainen scored his first NHL goal at 16:13 of the second period off a turnover by Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan. Ryan Spooner's shot was blocked by defenseman Travis Hamonic, but Kemppainen got the puck and tied the game 2-2.
Boston forward David Pastrnak scored at 18:16 to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead after a Tavares giveaway, one of 14 by New York.
"They came out in the second period and capitalized on our turnovers," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "You can't turn the puck over in this league. There are too many skilled guys and they are going to take advantage of it, and that is what they did tonight."
Spooner scored at 8:09 of the third period when he tried to pass the puck in front of the net, but it bounced off Islanders defenseman Marek Zidlicky's skate and went past Halak.
"It's a game of mistakes and you have to capitalize on them," Spooner said. "I thought that we did that well. There were a couple plays where they tried to make and it didn't really work out for them and we took advantage of it."
Boston forward David Krejci scored an empty-net goal at 17:35. He has a point in all seven games this season (five goals, seven assists).
Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey scored with 1:53 remaining. Halak made 21 saves.
"For some reason, we didn't have that second or third gear," Tavares said. "They were the better team and they earned their chances and were able to capitalize."
Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara played in his 1,200th NHL game; he debuted with the Islanders on Nov. 19, 1997.
Follow David Satriano on Twitter: @davidsatriano