Matt Carkner stands up for John Tavares

Matt Carkner skates during the New York Islanders Matt Carkner skates during the New York Islanders training camp. (Jan. 13, 2013) Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

advertisement | advertise on newsday

TORONTO -- Matt Carkner saw John Tavares getting up slowly in the Maple Leafs' zone with eight minutes to go last night, saw Dion Phaneuf skating away and figured he had to do something.

He needed to wait a few seconds, though. Phaneuf coughed up the puck to Matt Moulson in the high slot, and Moulson ripped home a shot to make it 6-3. Carkner then took a run at Phaneuf, who did not accept Carkner's invitation to fight after leveling the Isles' best player.

"We don't score that goal, I probably don't do anything about it," Carkner said. "I thought it was a hit from behind, and I thought the way Johnny got up that [Phaneuf] pushed his head into the glass. But that's what I'm here for. Guys can't be taking liberties with our best guys."

Carkner, who had many fights on the Air Canada Center ice during his three previous seasons with the Senators, drew a roughing penalty for his challenge to Phaneuf and the Islanders killed off the power play.

Special teams click

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Mark Streit's second-period power-play goal helped turn the game in the Islanders' favor, and now the Isles have scored a power-play goal in each of their three games. They are 3-for-13 (23.1 percent) for the season. Not bad, but not great, according to the team's power-play leader.

"It really hasn't been very good, in my opinion," Tavares said. "The Leafs really controlled our power play right before the goal. But you find a way to make it work."

The penalty kill has been big. The Isles killed off 25 seconds of a two-man Leafs advantage at the end of the first period and are a perfect 10-for-10 on the PK.

You also may be interested in: