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Moulson scores 4 as Islanders top Stars

New York Islanders left wing Matt Moulson (26),

New York Islanders left wing Matt Moulson (26), of Canada, shoots a goal over Dallas Stars goalie Andrew Raycroft (30), of Canada, as New York Islanders right wing P.A. Parenteau (15), also of Canada, watches during the second period. (Dec. 3, 2011) Credit: AP

DALLAS -- During a wild stretch of the second period, the puck was either in the Islanders' net or on the sticks of John Tavares, P.A. Parenteau or Matt Moulson, and Moulson was putting pucks in the Stars' net.

Moulson had a career-best four goals Saturday night, and the last of those, with 2:50 left in the second period, stood up as the winner in a 5-4 Islanders victory that capped an impressive 3-0-1 road trip, with all three wins by a goal.

After a 3-10-4 slide dropped the Islanders into last in the Eastern Conference, this four-game points streak lifted them out of the cellar and within six points of eighth place.

"We're a confident group now, I think that's the biggest difference," said Parenteau, who had three assists, as did Tavares. "We didn't get discouraged when they came back on us."

And it was a fast and furious comeback early in the seven-goal second period.

Moulson scored his first two in a solid opening 20 minutes, and Dylan Reese's wrist shot found its way through traffic and past Andrew Raycroft at 2:48 of the second to give the Islanders a 3-0 lead.

But within a 2:03 span, the Stars had tied it. Call-ups Tomas Vincour and Jake Dowell sandwiched goals around Eric Nystrom's 10th, all coming as the Isles sagged back on defense or were beaten in one-on-one battles along the boards or in the slot. Rick DiPietro, making his first start in 11 days, was fairly blameless on all three.

But showing some of their recently discovered resiliency, the Isles grabbed the lead back 27 seconds after Dowell's goal, with Moulson netting the hat trick off a feed from Tavares.

Another plugger-type, Tom Wandell, tied it again at 16:08. Just 62 seconds later, Moulson converted a beautiful two-on-one pass from Parenteau for his fourth.

Moulson had three other beautiful opportunities in the opening 40 minutes, including a breakaway in the second.

"When I had to beat the goalie, that's when I had trouble. Otherwise, it was just sliding pucks into open nets, thanks to my linemates," said Moulson, who has seven goals in his last four games and 13 for the season. "They made some amazing plays tonight."

DiPietro tweaked his groin somewhere in the second and was pulled for the third. He got the win thanks to a Mariano Rivera-esque save by Al Montoya, who stopped Michael Ryder with 8.3 seconds to play to preserve the lead. Montoya stopped all 13 shots he faced in the third.

Nino Niederreiter also left early after a crushing hit by Stars defenseman Mark Fistric, who connected on a forearm to Niederreiter's head. Niederreiter was experiencing concussion symptoms, though he was alert and eager to fly home with the team Saturday night.

Michael Grabner left the game after two shifts in the third with a groin injury. All three will be evaluated Sunday.

Short two forwards and with the Stars pressing for the tie, the Islanders got a little sloppy in the waning minutes. But they blocked a season-high 28 shots, including one by Moulson in the closing seconds.

"I think we got a little fatigued in the third, but give the guys credit," Jack Capuano said. "We're finding ways to win some close ones."

Notes & quotes: D Steve Staios led the Islanders with six blocked shots. Mark Streit had five . . . Moulson attempted a team-high 10 shots. Four of them became goals, three were stopped by Raycroft and another three missed the net.


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