Moulson, Montoya carry Isles to 5-1 win
Tomas Vokoun is neither friend nor family, but evidently Matt Moulson did not need the extra motivation.
Two days after besting his brother-in-law, Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, with a pair of goals, Moulson earned his second career hat trick Monday to lead the Islanders to a 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.
With their sixth win in seven games, the Islanders are only 11 points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Moulson, who has 26 goals, trickled the puck through Vokoun's pads for a 1-0 lead at 7:40 of the first period. He scored his second goal at 14:58 of the period when, from one knee at the left circle, Moulson sent a blistering one-timer past Vokoun. His third goal was an empty-netter with 2:37 to play.
"My linemates made great plays," said the left wing, who registered his previous hat trick Dec. 3, 2009, against Atlanta. "The first one, John [Tavares] battled and made the pass, and PA [Parenteau] made a great play on the second one, so I didn't have to do too much. And then the empty net . . . I had three kind of easy ones."
Moulson's three goals pulled him one ahead of Michael Grabner for the team lead. Right behind Moulson and Grabner is Tavares with 23. The Islanders are the only team in the NHL that has three players with at least 23 goals.
Has that created some healthy competition?
Said Moulson, "I think I'd be lying if I said it didn't."
In their last six games, the Islanders have scored 29 goals in regulation.
With the Islanders up 2-0 in the first, the Panthers' Stephen Weiss was slapped with a game misconduct for his elbow to the head of defenseman Radek Martinek. Martinek showed some uncharacteristic snarl, staring down Weiss as he was helped toward the bench by trainer Garrett Timms.
During the ensuing five-minute power play, the veteran defenseman channeled that anger into his slap shot from the blue line that gave the Islanders a 3-0 lead 37 seconds into the second period.
"I think it was stupid to do that," said Martinek, who could hardly suppress a smile when talking about the team's recent success.
"I'm just so happy with how we're playing," he said. "It just seems like we're doing everything so easy. I don't know why we didn't play like that two months ago."
Goaltender Al Montoya, acquired in a trade from Phoenix this month, secured his second straight win with a 20-save effort. Montoya is 3-0 in four games with the Islanders.
Josh Bailey scored at 6:41 of the second period, faking out a Panthers defenseman and scooting through the slot to make it 4-0. Defenseman Travis Hamonic had two assists.
"They're doing the right things, and when you do the right things, you get rewarded," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "They're shooting pucks, and good things happen when you get pucks to the net."