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game recap

Islanders stop Wild's winning streak

New York 2-for-2 on seven-game road trip

by Dan Myers / Correspondent

Nielsen's power-play goal

NYI@MIN: Nielsen beats Dubnyk on the power play

2/23/16: Frans Nielsen redirects a John Tavares feed past Devan Dubnyk on the power play to put the Islanders up 2-0 in the 1st period

  • 00:39 •

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The New York Islanders put forth one of their better performances of the season Tuesday. That's what their coach thought, anyway.

Frans Nielsen scored twice and John Tavares had a goal and an assist to help the Islanders to a 4-1 win against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. 

Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves for New York (32-19-7), which is 6-1-1 in its past eight games and moved within three points of the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders have two games in hand. 

New York ended Minnesota's four-game winning streak and is 2-for-2 on a seven-game road trip that takes them to Canada for four straight games, beginning Thursday at the Calgary Flames. 

"We were resilient tonight, we played a good game all the way around," Capuano said. "It was one of the best games we've played all year."

Halak, who shut out the New Jersey Devils last Friday, was a critical cog on the Islanders' top-ranked penalty kill. New York stifled a power play that had scored at least once in all four games since John Torchetti took over as the Wild's interim coach on Feb. 13 and was clicking at a 31.3 percent during that stretch.

Video: NYI@MIN: Tavares beats Dubnyk on the power play

Minnesota (27-23-10) went 0-for-5 with the man-advantage; the Islanders scored twice in three tries.

The Wild, who defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday as part of the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, have lost nine in a row at Xcel Energy Center; they haven't won there since a 3-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 28. 

"We were trying to be too fine with it and we weren't getting inside like we want," Torchetti said. "A couple of times we didn't have the net-front presence. I think we had two chances that I liked, but you've got to get more than that when you get five opportunities, especially when they match two."

Matt Martin scored for New York. Anders Lee, a Minnesota native, had two assists.

"It can really be a momentum change in games when it's 3-1, they get a power play and we kill it off," Nielsen said. "[On the power play], we made a few changes. We were looking at our shot totals and, earlier, we were waiting for the perfect play and the big chances. Now, we're keeping it simple, we're shooting more pucks and [we're] a little hungrier on those rebounds."

Chris Porter scored and Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves for the Wild, who will play their next two games on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals in a back-to-back Thursday and Friday.

"You always want to be a good home team, and we haven't done that as of late," Wild forward Charlie Coyle said. "Right now, we have to focus on the road, heading down there and getting those games. We have to get back to playing our game, and our style of hockey here, and take care of business in our building."

Martin took advantage of a funky bounce 1:36 into the game when a harmless shot by Steve Bernier missed the net by several feet. The puck bounced off the end wall to Martin crashing near the left post, where he outmuscled Mikael Granlund and shoveled the puck between the post and Dubnyk for his seventh goal. 

Video: NYI@MIN: Martin beats Dubnyk early in the 1st period

"At this time of year, it's not going to be fancy or the sexy plays, we get a shot on net and [Martin] goes to the net," Capuano said. "Everything is right outside the paint. It was good for to get that one early, give us a little bit of confidence early in this road trip against a really good team and try to take some of the crowd noise out and get some of the momentum."

New York killed back-to-back Minnesota power plays, then scored seconds into its first man-advantage when Nielsen redirected a Tavares pass near the right circle at 12:15. 

"We came out with real good legs early and were aggressive and got rewarded," Tavares said. "It's always good feeling to start on the road and get that first goal from some good hard work. Special teams were a big part of the game today. We got some big goals at big times."

Minnesota got back within a goal late in the second period when a shot from the point by defenseman Marco Scandella hit Granlund in front. The puck went right to a circling Porter near the right post for an easy tap-in at 19:33. 

The Islanders struck again on the power play early in the third when Kyle Okposo's cross-crease pass deflected off traffic in front of Dubnyk and ended up on the stick of Tavares near the right post, where he finished into an open net at 2:42. 

"It's not the way you want to start the third, obviously trying to take that momentum we had in the second there," Porter said. "It was a little bit of a buzzkill, but you have to credit them. Their power play was better than ours tonight, but our power play has been carrying us the last few games, so it's on us 5-on-5 at home."

Dubnyk went to the bench for an extra attacker late in the third period but Nielsen intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and scored into the empty net with 2:46 remaining.

Video: Islanders take down Wild, 4-1

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