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Tavares lifts Islanders past Ducks in OT to snap skid

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- John Tavares said the New York Islanders didn't talk about how the Anaheim Ducks were missing stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry going into their game Wednesday, even though it was difficult to ignore.

At the end of the night, Tavares made sure the Islanders didn't have to hear about how they lost to the Ducks even though Anaheim was without its leading scorers, who were out because of flu symptoms.

The Islanders captain scored his second goal of the game at 2:18 of overtime to give the Islanders a 3-2 win against the depleted Ducks at Honda Center.

New York snapped a three-game losing streak with the victory, the first of its five-game road trip (1-2-0).

"It's a good feeling," Tavares said. "It's just nice to get the win, first and foremost. I think everyone battled really hard. We had everyone going tonight. I thought we were skating well. We were hard on pucks and did a good job in a lot of areas, so you like to be rewarded, especially [because in] the last few games, things haven't been going our way."

Tavares' game-winner came on the power play with Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen in the penalty box for elbowing. Tavares shot the puck from the high slot, and it appeared to hit Ducks center Ryan Kesler's stick before dipping through goalie Jason LaBarbera's pads for his sixth goal.

"We just had a few things set," Tavares said. "I just tried to come up high and create some movement, create some lanes, and I just saw an opportunity to get the puck toward the net so Kyle [Okposo was] kind of alone in front, and goalie didn't quite see it coming through."

Getzlaf did not return to the arena after the morning skate because he felt ill, and Perry was sent back home shortly after he arrived in the afternoon. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said he hopes it's a 24-hour illness.

Getzlaf and Perry had accounted for 40 percent of Anaheim's goals. Perry leads the NHL with 11 goals, and Getzlaf is tied for third in assists (11).

Wednesday was the first time both Getzlaf and Perry were out with injuries or illness since March 28, 2008. Their absences did not completely slow down Anaheim. The Ducks outshot the Islanders 29-17 over the final 37 minutes of regulation and overtime, and they had several quality chances in the third period, including Kesler's missed shot from the slot.

It wasn't enough to overcome a poor start, and the Ducks couldn't feel good about getting one point.

"Not for us," defenseman Cam Fowler said. "We expect too much in here to be satisfied with the one point in our home building with the group that we have. Sure, there's some good things we did in the second half, but the stuff that happened in the first half we need to clean up."

Boudreau said he would have scratched Emerson Etem and Rickard Rakell if Getzlaf and Perry were healthy, and Etem helped Anaheim erase a 2-0 deficit.

Boudreau wouldn't say what he told the Ducks at first intermission, but Anaheim came alive in the second period and got goals by Matt Beleskey and Etem to tie it 2-2 going into the third.

Beleskey tapped in Kesler's pass in the crease for a power-play goal at 9:15. Etem swiped in a loose puck in the high slot with Devante Smith-Pelly screening Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak at 18:51 for his first goal this season and first since Feb.8.

Anaheim outshot New York 12-0 during a six-minute stretch in the second.

"This is a good hockey club," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said of the Ducks. "They have a lot of depth and they're a big team. I thought their defense was outstanding on the back end. I thought we were really dictating the play until we gave up that power-play goal. They get that one, they feed off it, but I like the way we responded."

Okposo put the Islanders ahead 2-0 when he beat LaBarbera with a wrist shot to the blocker side on the first shot of the second period. It was the Islanders' first power-play goal of the trip; they had been 0-for-10.

The Ducks looked out of sync to start, and the Islanders took advantage when Tavares scored on a one-timer off a big rebound given up by LaBarbera on Calvin de Haan's shot from the left side 3:38 into the game.

Anaheim was outshot 12-4 in the first period and 19-5 through the first 27 minutes.

"We really wanted to get a win," Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic said. "It's a tough building to do it in. I thought we played a pretty good game. Quite frankly, it was a pretty good road game."

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