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game recap

Islanders rally in third period for win against Wild

Varlamov makes 25 saves, New York gets first regulation victory in eight games

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Martin one-times Komarov's pass

NYI@MIN: Martin scores off Komarov's great feed

Leo Komarov, while falling down, makes a fantastic backhand pass to Matt Martin, who scores to put the Islanders ahead 2-1

  • 00:41 •

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves and the New York Islanders rallied for their first regulation win in eight games, 3-1 against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday.

Ryan Pulock, Matt Martin and Tom Kuhnhackl each scored in the third period for New York (24-10-3), which was 0-2-1 in its previous three games and hadn't won in regulation since a 3-1 victory at the Florida Panthers on Dec. 12.

"Things haven't been going well the last week or two weeks," Martin said. "We had some meetings, and [we're] just getting back to what we do best. I think we just stuck with it tonight.

"When things aren't going well, you always seem to be trailing in games, but we didn't deviate from our plan, we didn't deviate from who we are as a team. We were able to get one early [in the third] and get two more, so huge win for us."

 

[WATCH: All Islanders vs. Wild highlights]

 

Ryan Donato scored and Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves for Minnesota (19-15-5), which was denied a third straight victory.

"Some nights you don't get a lot of chances [but] they go in, some nights you get all the chances in the world and somehow they stay out," Donato said. "It's tough to see."

Pulock started the Islanders rally when he put in the rebound of Mathew Barzal's shot through traffic to tie it 1-1 at 4:24 of the third period.

Martin gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead when Leo Komarov's diving pass from the right wing set Martin up for a one-timer at 6:01.

[Martin] screamed for it and I just threw it to the net, so it was pretty easy," Komarov said.

Kuhnhackl scored his first goal since March 1 with a wrist shot from the slot at 17:29 for the 3-1 final.

Video: NYI@MIN: Kuhnhackl pads lead for Islanders

"It's been a while since [I've scored]," Kuhnhackl said. "[Stanley Cup] Playoffs against Pittsburgh (in Game 1), the one that didn't count (because of an offsides call), that's the last one I remember I scored. It was nice to get on the score sheet."

Donato pushed a loose puck between Varlamov's pads at 15:43 of the first to give the Wild a 1-0 lead.

"I was never comfortable with a 1-0 lead," Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I always felt we had to get another goal somewhere. We had a couple of really good chances to get it and we didn't get it, and that worried me. They double-shifted the Barzal [line] the one time I put the Staal line out, and then they scored and that was it."

Video: NYI@MIN: Donato pokes puck between Varlamov's pads

 

They said it

"They know the right way to play and how hard it is to win in this league and how much you have to commit. We can't have any passengers, we can't have any guys on their own page. [Saturday] was a good practice to get back on the same page." -- Islanders coach Barry Trotz

"They're a tough defensive team, so that's how they're going to play. They pressure hard and try to get pucks behind you and they were doing a pretty good job of that." -- Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk

 

Need to know

New York has yet to go four straight games without a win since Trotz became coach prior to the start of last season. … Varlamov made nine saves in the third period. … It's the earliest the Islanders have reached 50 points since the 1983-84 season (24-9-2) … Barzal has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past five games. … Pulock had a plus-3 rating and six of New York's 28 shots on goal. … Donato has seven points (five goals, two assists) in his past 11 games. … With an assist, Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek extended his point streak to three games (one goal, two assists). … Minnesota is 3-for-34 on the power play in its past 13 games.

 

What's next

Islanders: At the Washington Capitals on Tuesday (1 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NBCSWA, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Wild: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday (6 p.m. ET; SN, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV)

Video: Islanders ride three-goal third period to victory

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