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Nielsen hat trick lifts Islanders over Stars 7-5

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Frans Nielsen scored three goals in the third period, and the New York Islanders held on for a wild 7-5 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.

Nielsen beat goalie Anders Lindback with a wrist shot at 9:39 after he and Nikolay Kulemin skated into the Dallas zone on a 2-on-1 rush. Mikhail Grabovski started the play with a slick backhand pass out of the Islanders zone to Nielsen at center ice.

Nielsen scored again at 15:09 off another 2-on-1 with Grabovski before Shawn Horcoff pulled Dallas to within 6-5 just 23 seconds later with his first of the season.

Nielsen completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal with 0.01 seconds remaining.

The victory was the sixth in eight games for the resurgent Islanders (6-2). The Stars (4-2-2) lost one night after beating the Devils in New Jersey in a shootout.

Backup goalie Chad Johnson made 26 saves for the Islanders in his second straight start. He has won all three games he has played this season.

Anders Lee, recalled by New York from AHL Bridgeport this week, opened the scoring with his first of the season at 5:11 of the first period.

After Vernon Fiddler tied it at 13:25, Kulemin scored his first with the Islanders on a short-handed breakaway at 18:42.

Lee’s goal came when he redirected Thomas Hickey’s shot past Lindback. It was the 11th goal for Lee in 26 NHL games.

Brock Nelson scored his fifth of the season at 1:12 of the second period to extend New York’s lead to 3-1.

Then Stars’ leading scorer Tyler Seguin narrowed the deficit to 3-2 with his sixth of the season at 5:25 before Jason Spezza tied it with a power-play goal at 6:50.

Antoine Roussel put Dallas ahead 4-3 at 15:50 but Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky ripped a shot over Lindback’s right shoulder 30 seconds later to tie it again.

The goal was the first of the season for the 38-year-old Visnovsky, who missed the first five games of the season with a back injury.

The Islanders have eight goals from defensemen this season. They had 23 all of last season from blue-liners.

New York is 9-3-3 in its last 15 games against Dallas.

Grabovski returned after a three-game absence with concussion symptoms. He replaced Josh Bailey who went on the injured list after he broke a hand against Boston.

Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic missed his second straight game due to an upper body injury.

NOTES: The teams meet again in Dallas on March 3. … Defenseman Matt Donovan and forward Eric Boulton were scratched by the Islanders. … Dallas scratched forward Curtis McKenzie and defenseman Kevin Connauton.

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