Lack, Canucks Hand Islanders Second Straight Loss

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eddie lack

By Kevin Woodley 

(ISN) – VANCOUVER — With leading goal scorer Radim Vrbata a late scratch, the Vancouver Canucks got offense from unlikely sources.

Derek Cain Photography www.derekcainphotography.com

Defenseman Ryan Stanton scored his first goal in 84 games, center Nick Bonino scored his second in 24 games and rookie right wing Linden Vey ended a 12-game drought to lead the Canucks to a 3-2 win against the New York Islanders at Rogers Arena on Tuesday.

Mikhail Grabovski scored his first goal in 11 games with 5:27 left to close the gap for the Islanders, but Eddie Lack made 21 saves in his first start since Dec. 17 and the Canucks improved to 5-1-1 since ending a season-worst five-game losing streak.

Matt Martin scored and Jaroslav Halak made 17 saves for the Islanders, who have lost two straight after a 7-1-1 streak.

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Vey wasn’t supposed to play, but was inserted into the lineup because Vrbata was sick and took his spot on a second line with Bonino and Chris Higgins, who has combined for two goals in 14 games.

Vrbata, who has 16 goals, had been moved onto that line this week to try and spark it. They didn’t need him against the Islanders.

Martin opened the scoring midway through the first period, driving the net to redirect Travis Hamonic’s centering pass after the Islanders defenseman made a nice rush around Stanton. But Stanton tied it two-and-a-half minutes later with his first goal since Oct. 17, 2013.

Islanders center Brock Nelson tried to make a back pass behind his own net, but it went right to Canucks center Brad Richardson, who walked out front for a shot that went off the shaft of Halak’s stick along the ice and right to an open Stanton on the backdoor.

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Derek Cain Photography www.derekcainphotography.com

Bonino ended a slump of his own to put the Canucks up 2-1 eight minutes into the second period. New York defenseman Thomas Hickey threw the puck to Canucks counterpart Kevin Bieksa at the right point. His shot bounced off Halak to Bonino in front and the Canucks center pulled the puck to his forehand and around the right pad before tucking it in for his first goal in nine games.

Vey made it 3-1 on a breakaway with 2:24 left in the second period. After another Hickey giveaway on a drop pass while leading the rush, Vey caught up to Derek Dorsett’s chip pass inside the right faceoff circle in the Islanders end before slipping a quick shot through the legs of a retreating Halak.

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Derek Cain Photography www.derekcainphotography.com

Lack gave up six goals in the third period of a 7-4 loss to the Islanders last March, a game he called his “worst as a professional.” But he saved 7 of 8 in the third period this time around.

The Islanders had two shots 11 minutes into the third period, but Lack robbed Martin from the slot with nine minutes left, throwing out the right pad after a nice pass from John Tavares behind the net.

Lack, who turned 27 on Monday, made a sliding save on Frans Nielsen on a shorthanded 2-on-1 before Grabovski scored after a Bieksa giveaway created another 2-on-1 down low. Kyle Okposo passed across to Grabovski, who one-timed it from the right hash mark past Lack’s glove at 14:33 for his second goal in 22 games.

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Derek Cain Photography www.derekcainphotography.com

New York was without forward Josh Bailey, who sustained an upper-body injury in a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, but speedy left wing Michael Grabner returned to play his sixth game of the season. Grabner, who had hernia surgery prior to the start before the season, started on the top line with Tavares and Okposo, but the Islanders didn’t generate a lot of offense and were undone by turnovers at the other end.

The Canucks lost Richardson, their third-line center, after he blocked a shot with his foot midway through the second period. Defenseman Yannick Weber left with 6:52 remaining in the third period after colliding with Grabner.

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Derek Cain Photography www.derekcainphotography.com

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