VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks moved back into a tie for a wild card in the Western Conference and handed the New York Islanders their seventh straight loss with a 5-4 shootout win at Rogers Arena on Tuesday.
Thatcher Demko made an NHL career-high 45 saves for the Canucks (36-27-6), who are tied with the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets; each has 78 points.
"It was two desperate teams that needed a win pretty badly," said Vancouver forward J.T. Miller, who scored the only goal of the shootout in the second round. "I thought the last eight minutes or so we had another level in our game. We hit a few posts. It was a super fun game. Those are the games you want to be in."
[WATCH: All Islanders vs. Canucks highlights]
Brock Nelson scored twice and Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves for the Islanders (35-23-10), who came back three times to tie the game but are 0-3-4 during their skid and trail the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets by one point for a wild card in the East.
"We did a pretty good job a couple times battling back," Nelson said. "We need that right now, especially the way things are going for us, so it seems like we're close. But [we've] just got to find that puck or that play to kind of get us over the hump right now and turn it around."
Video: NYI@VAN: Miller leads Canucks to shootout victory
Andrew Ladd's first NHL goal since Oct. 30, 2018 gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 1:36 of the first period. Ladd played 21 NHL games between goals because of knee injuries.
"It's fun to be back in that room, playing with those guys and contributing, so hopefully we can get her going in the right direction here and string a few wins together," Ladd said.
Adam Gaudette tied it 1-1 with a deflection at 1:57, and Tyler Toffoli gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead at 2:41, finishing a cross-ice pass from Elias Pettersson off the rush with a quick wrist shot.
"It's nice to score, but getting a win at this time of year is what we've been looking for as a team," said Toffoli, who also had an assist and has 10 points (six goals, four assists) in 10 games since being acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 17. "I know that sounds cliché. It was a lot of fun. Winning is fun. Winning is contagious, and we have to do more of it."
Video: NYI@VAN: Toffoli nets Pettersson's transition set-up
Jordan Eberle tied it 2-2 with a backhand shot after getting behind the defense at 19:01 of the first period.
Zack MacEwen gave Vancouver a 3-2 lead with a deflection from the side of the net at 2:13 of the second, but Nelson tied it 3-3 at 17:00.
Bo Horvat put the Canucks back in front on a power play at 17:51 of the second period to make it 4-3, but Nelson scored again to tie it 4-4 just after a power play expired at 4:32 of the third.
"You want to be a guy that can be relied on to get it done so it was nice to get a couple," said Nelson, who leads New York with 26 goals. "We did a lot of good things today and we're close to getting that one that's going to get us out, and then hopefully we can roll with it."
Video: NYI@VAN: Horvat finishes slick sequence with PPG
Demko made four saves during a 37-second Islanders 5-on-3 advantage in the first period, including a right pad save on a backdoor one-timer by Mathew Barzal.
"Down the stretch, we are going to have to be really sharp as a group and individually," Demko said.
They said it
"Obviously, you'd like two [points], but to fight back and get that point, it could be the point that gets us in. At this time of year, you can't dwell on the what ifs. We've got to move on." -- Islanders forward Andrew Ladd
"It's two desperate teams trying to win games to make the playoffs. We've been playing playoff hockey ever since I got here. It was nice for us to pull through." -- Canucks forward Tyler Toffoli
Video: NYI@VAN: Nelson fires loose puck in for second goal
Need to know
Islanders forward Josh Bailey left with an undisclosed injury with 6:32 left in first period. There was no update from New York coach Barry Trotz after the game. … Barzal, a British Columbia native, had one assist, giving him four assists in three career games in Vancouver. He has eight assists in six games against the Canucks. … Vancouver defenseman Christopher Tanev sustained an undisclosed injury at 8:15 of the third period, but Canucks coach Travis Green did not have an update on his status. … Vancouver forward Brock Boeser had three shots on goal in 17:17 of ice time after missing 12 games with fractured rib cartilage. … Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler had two assists, including his 400th NHL point.
Islanders: At the Calgary Flames on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, MSG+, NHL.TV)
Canucks: At the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; FS-A, FS-A PLUS, SNP, NHL.TV)
Video: Demko, Canucks outlast Islanders for shootout win