Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders celebrates his first...

Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders celebrates his first period goal against the Anaheim Ducks with teammate PA Parenteau. (Dec. 16, 2010) Credit: Jim McIsaac

A decisive and commanding win it was not - and the Islanders admittedly white-knuckled their grip on the lead for much of the way - but it was a win nonetheless.

Sparked by three goals in a 99-second span in the first period, the Islanders beat the Ducks, 3-2, in front of a season-low attendance of 7,659 at Nassau Coliseum last night, their second victory in the past 22 games. They ended their latest losing streak at six games, winning for the first time since Nov. 26.

"It's a huge relief," defenseman Andrew MacDonald said. "It's been a rough go lately. If you ask anyone, no one is thrilled with the way we played, but the most important thing is we got the two points."

The Islanders returned defenseman Milan Jurcina and Radek Martinek to their depleted blue line, but MacDonald was the workhorse star of the game. He had four shots, five takeaways and eight blocked shots in a team-leading 25:53 of ice time. He was awarded the team's makeshift MVP trophy - an Islanders-emblazoned hard hat.

"A-Mac was unbelievable tonight," said his defensive partner, Travis Hamonic, who delivered another fine performance.

"I felt good," said MacDonald, who returned Dec. 2 from a broken right hand. "I had good legs, was reading the play well, so it's nice to be back in full form."

PA Parenteau, Blake Comeau and Matt Moulson gave the Islanders a 3-0 lead late in the first.

"You can say whatever you want, but it's a whole different game when you can get the lead," said Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, who made 30 saves.

"It's nice not to have to play catch-up," Hamonic said.

John Tavares laced a beautiful pass behind the net and through the crease to connect with Parenteau, who beat Ducks goaltender Curtis McElhinney for a power-play goal at 15:06. Comeau scored from the slot at 15:34 and Moulson netted a backhander at 16:45.

Parenteau made a nice play to set up the third goal, poking the puck away from Saku Koivu to Moulson for his team-leading 11th goal of the season.

After recording his first career shutout against the Islanders last month, McElhinney was given the hook after Moulson's goal and replaced by regular starter Jonas Hiller.

The Islanders surrendered a power-play goal to Joffrey Lopul at 10:35 of the second. Former Islander Jason Blake made it 3-2 1:30 into the third period.

With 3:14 to play, Ducks center Brandon McMillan put the Islanders in the driver's seat, taking an interference penalty after brushing DiPietro's stick aside.

"It's an unbelievable feeling to win hockey games," Hamonic said. "I think that was a gutsy effort by the guys, and it's games like that that we're going to learn from."

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