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Canucks beat Islanders on Richardson OT goal

by Brian Compton /

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella was confident his team would bounce back from a 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.

On Tuesday, it did -- even if there are things he would like to see cleaned up.

Brad Richardson scored with 2:44 left in overtime to lift the Canucks to an entertaining 5-4 victory against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

With the teams skating 4-on-4 in the extra session, Richardson managed to work his way around Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald and slide the puck past goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who struggled all night.

Ryan Kesler, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Chris Higgins also scored for the Canucks. Vancouver (6-4-1) has two games remaining on its seven-game road trip, which continues against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

Former Islanders goalie Roberto Luongo made 28 saves for the victory.

"I thought it was an absolute mess, right on through," Tortorella said. "It seems like every time we come into this building -- I've come here quite a bit with New York -- it turns into a cluster. It was that night tonight."

New York (3-3-3) finished with one win on its four-game homestand. Matt Moulson scored twice, but Nabokov allowed five goals on 33 shots and appeared to fight the puck all night, leaving several rebounds in front of his net.

"I'm not going to comment about the goaltending," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said.

The Islanders got on the scoreboard 2:26 into the game. With the teams at even strength, Luongo sent a clearing attempt from behind the net that Cal Clutterbuck intercepted near the right circle. He sent it back behind the net to Peter Regin, who tried a wraparound that was denied by Luongo. But rookie Brock Nelson was on the doorstep and quickly swatted the rebound home for his first NHL goal.

Moulson doubled New York's lead on the power play less than two minutes later. After Higgins was whistled for slashing, Moulson took a nice feed from Nielsen and poked it past Luongo to make it 2-0. It was Moulson's fourth goal of the season. Islanders captain John Tavares picked up the secondary assist, extending his point streak to eight games.

But Vancouver responded 16 seconds later on Kesler's fourth goal of the season. Nabokov made the initial save on Dan Hamhuis' shot from the point, but he left a juicy rebound in front for Kesler, who fired it home to make it 2-1 at 4:57.

"He was kind of spitting them out into the slot tonight," Higgins said of Nabokov.

Daniel Sedin then tied the game with an even-strength goal at 9:09. Sedin, who hadn't scored since Oct. 8, took a pass from Jannik Hansen and let go a soft shot from the left circle that found its way past Nabokov, completely erasing the 2-0 lead New York had built in the first 4:41.

"We have a ton of things to work on," Tortorella said. "The thing I like about it is going down 2-0 early, we found a way to battle back. We got scored on late and we still find a way to get two points. That is the most important thing."

Luongo preserved the 2-2 tie with a brilliant glove save 14 minutes into the period. Some solid forechecking by Kyle Okposo allowed Tavares to find Thomas Hickey in the slot, but Luongo managed to snare Hickey's blast.

"I could have made a better play on the first one, the wraparound there," Luongo said. "But it had been two days since I had been on the ice, so maybe there was a little bit of rust there. But as the game went on, I felt better."

The Islanders went back in front on Moulson's second power-play goal of the night at 4:48 of the second period. With Canucks captain Henrik Sedin in the box for high sticking, Nielsen fed Okposo in the slot, who then found Moulson at the right circle. Moulson took Okposo's feed and launched a wrister past Luongo to give New York a 3-2 lead.

Vancouver's Zack Kassian had a goal waved off with 12:48 remaining in the second period. Canucks forward Mike Santorelli collided with Nabokov, resulting in a non-penalty call for goalie interference.

But the Canucks found the equalizer at 12:39 of the second on Henrik Sedin's third goal of the season. With the teams at even strength, Kevin Bieksa sent a long pass from his own end up the right wing to Daniel Sedin, who had a wrist shot denied by Nabokov. Henrik Sedin, though, was there to poke the rebound over the goal line to make it 3-3.

"I thought they were doing a pretty good job [of driving to the net]," Nabokov said. "Sometimes it's hard to move laterally with someone on top of you."

Higgins, who hails from nearby Smithtown, N.Y., gave the Canucks their first lead of the night with 17.2 seconds remaining in the second period. He was the beneficiary of another rebound left in front by Nabokov, who denied Bieksa's shot from the right point before Higgins, left all alone, quickly put the rebound home for his third goal of the season, much to the delight of the roughly 50 family members and friends in the crowd.

"I don't know many more I'll have left in this building," said Higgins, referring to the Isles' move to Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2015. "But I have a lot of great memories growing up, playing here. Most of my friends in my life are through hockey, so this building will always hold a special place in my heart."

Nielsen continued his torrid start to the season by scoring the tying goal at 18:48 of the third period. With Nabokov pulled for an extra attacker, MacDonald fired a slap shot from the right point that Luongo kicked aside. The rebound landed right on Nielsen's tape, and the Isles forward fired it home for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.

Nielsen's goal allowed the Islanders to pick up a point in the standings. They secured four of a possible eight points on their homestand.

"The way that [points] slipped is a little concerning because there were times that we could have put teams away," Capuano said. "We didn't find the back of the net on some of the chances that we had.

"It's frustrating a little bit, but I don't think we're playing poorly. I'd be the first to tell you."

The Canucks were forced to play the final two periods with 10 forwards after Hansen was injured in the first following a collision with Islanders defenseman Brian Strait behind New York's net. He did not return to the game and Tortorella did not provide an update afterward.

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