VANCOUVER -- The way things were going for the New York Islanders on Tuesday, defenseman Thomas Hickey wasn't going to pass up the chance to direct a shot towards the net, even if the puck was rolling towards him at the point.
Hickey scored the go-ahead goal with 7:05 left in the third period and Thomas Greiss made 31 saves to help the Islanders to a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena despite being outshot 33-24 and outplayed for long stretches.
Daniel Sedin tied the game 2-2 on a sharp-angled shot with 9:08 left in the third period, but Hickey restored the lead 2:03 later with a shot that deflected off Vancouver defenseman Christopher Tanev in the slot and went past goalie Jacob Markstrom.
"When you see a rolling puck like that, they say just shoot it," Hickey said. "Oftentimes you sort of flub it when it's rolling that much, but it had eyes."
Video: NYI@VAN: Hamonic puts it home on deflection for lead
The same could be said of all three New York goals. Travis Hamonic and Anders Lee also scored on deflections off Vancouver defensemen for the Islanders (34-20-7), who bounced back from a 3-1 loss at the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday and are 4-1-0 after five games of a season-long seven-game road trip that continues Thursday at the Winnipeg Jets.
"It was one of those games where they were all kind of garbage a little bit," Lee said. "But you take them and roll with it."
Three good bounces might not have been enough if not for Greiss, who was at his scrambling best in his first start in five games.
"To be honest, it's not a really good hockey game for us," Hickey said. "The positive is you end up winning, but to a man in here we understand that's not going to win too many games. Our goalie bailed us out and we got lucky."
Video: NYI@VAN: Lee puts puck home off deflection for lead
Linden Vey had a first-period power-play goal and Markstrom made 21 saves for the Canucks (24-26-12), who have two wins in their past eight games. They host the San Jose Sharks on Thursday to start a home-and-home series.
"We had a few bad breaks; it's a tough one," Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said. "I thought our team played well. I thought we worked real hard. We deserved better."
The Islanders managed all of two shots in the first period and had nine in the second, but scored once in each period on deflections off Canucks defensemen.
New York opened the scoring on its first shot, 4:20 into the first period, when Hamonic's wrist shot off the right boards deflected off the stick of Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis and went past Markstrom.
Video: NYI@VAN: Vey slams home loose puck to tie game on PPG
Vey tied the game 1-1 midway through the first period on a power-play rebound, but New York took a 2-1 lead with 5:31 left in the second on a double deflection that Markstrom almost pulled off the goal line. Lee's deflection in the slot was headed wide but hit the skate of defenseman Ben Hutton at the top of the crease and caromed towards the empty net. Markstrom reached back with his glove to stop it, but replays showed the puck had crossed the line.
"If we get this effort every night we are going to get those bounces too," Sedin said.
Vancouver almost tied it on a scramble less than a minute later, but the puck stopped on the goal line and defenseman Calvin de Haan, back after missing five games with a lower-body injury, swept it back into a prone Greiss.
"They did a good job screening, just crashing the net and getting as many bodies as they can in front of the net," Greiss said. "I don't think it was our best game, but good teams win anyway and we found a way."
Video: NYI@VAN: Sedin sneaks it by Greiss to tie the game
Greiss, back in goal after watching Jaroslav Halak play the previous four games, robbed Sven Baertschi twice in alone in 30 seconds into the third period, making the initial save with the tip of his right pad, then sprawling to get the paddle of his stick on the rebound.
"He was our best player tonight," Hickey said. "I don't know how many of those goalmouth scrambles we had, and he makes himself really big, spreads out and takes away those stuffs, so we owe this one to him."
Left wing Shane Prince, acquired from the Ottawa Senators before the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday, made his debut for the Islanders on the top line with John Tavares, but was dropped down the lineup by the second period as New York struggled early.
Vancouver had to shake up its lines after top-line right wing Jannik Hansen sustained a rib injury in the morning skate; the Canucks dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen, with Yannick Weber playing on the fourth line. Hansen will be out at least a week before being re-evaluated, Desjardins said. Forward Brendan Gaunce was called up from the American Hockey League on Tuesday, but didn't arrive in time to play.
Video: Islanders outlast Canucks for win