Tavares kept up his scoring surge with two more goals and the Islanders beat Vegas 6-3 on Monday night, handing the expansion Golden Knights their second loss of the season.
Andrew Ladd, Mathew Barzal, Cal Clutterbuck and Nikolai Kulemin also scored, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 31 shots to help New York win for the fifth time in six games. Tavares has eight goals in the last four games.
"Guys did a great job of creating chances, playing hard, winning battles and playing with pace again," Tavares said. "We had contributions up and down the lineup. Obviously, that’s key to score six goals. … The execution is there and we’re just competing really hard."
William Karlsson, Alex Tuch and Colin Miller scored for Vegas (8-2-0), which snapped a five-game winning streak and lost another goalie to injury. With starter Marc-Andre Fleury and backup Malcolm Subban already sidelined, Oscar Dansk left with an apparent leg injury after Tavares scored the tying goal late in the second period.
Dansk, who came in 3-0 with an NHL-best 1.34 goals-against average, made 17 saves. Maxime Lagace, the fourth goalie Vegas has used in its inaugural season, came on for his NHL debut and gave up four goals on 11 shots.
"We didn’t help Max out," Miller said. "He’s getting thrown in the fire a little bit. I’m sure he’ll do fine. He’s played hockey for a long time. I’m sure he’ll be all right."
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant didn’t have an update on Dansk after the game. He said Lagace would start Tuesday at the New York Rangers, and another goalie would be called up to be the backup.
Vegas led 2-1 after one period before Tavares tied the score with his 10th goal with 5:10 left, deflecting a shot by Nick Leddy past Dansk, who was injured on the play. The Golden Knights challenged for goalie interference, but the goal stood after a review.
With Reilly Smith off for high-sticking, Barzal gave the Islanders their first lead as he knocked in the rebound of a backhand by Anders Lee that went off the right post for his third.
Smith’s penalty was the Golden Knights’ third of the second period and fifth of the game.
"If we’re going to win on the road, you can’t take five penalties in the first two periods and get behind the 8-ball there," Gallant said. "When the game was real close we made a couple of big mistakes there and opened the door for them to get six goals."
Clutterbuck extended New York’s lead to 4-2 at 4:44 of the third as he skated up the right side and fired the puck past Lagace’s glove for his second.
Kulemin made it a three-goal lead with his first of the season at 8:26 of the third.
Tavares scored on a breakaway with 7:22 left for his 11th of the season, giving New York six goals for the second straight game.
"We built some good momentum," Tavares said. "Now it’s just to keep it going. It’s a long season."
Miller beat Halak from the right circle with 5:19 to go to pull Vegas to 6-3.
Vegas got on the scoreboard first with the first short-handed goal in franchise history as Karlsson got a pass from Cody Eakin and beat Halak, who was out of position trying to disrupt the pass, at 9:31. It was the sixth short-handed goal allowed by the Islanders, tying Buffalo for most in the NHL.
"Yet another short-handed goal against — it just can’t happen," Islanders coach Doug Weight said. "I’m glad they battled back, put pucks to the net and scored on a couple of power plays."
Ladd tied it with 6:10 remaining in the period as he fired a shot from the top of the right circle past Dansk’s blocker side for his third.
The Golden Knights went back ahead 2-1 nearly two minutes later with a power-play goal when Miller’s shot deflected off Tuch’s skate in front and past Halak. It was Tuch’s third of the season.
NOTES: Tavares has nine goals and 12 points in the last five games. … Josh Bailey had three assists to give him points in seven straight games (two goals, 10 assists). … The Islanders improved to 4-0-1 at home this season. … The teams conclude the season series Jan. 25 at Las Vegas. … Gallant was back at Barclays Center for the first time since coaching Florida against the Islanders in the first round of the 2016 playoffs. New York won the series at home in two overtimes in Game 6. Gallant was fired by the Panthers last Nov. 27. … Each team went 2 for 5 on the power play. … Vegas gave up two power-play goals after going 10 for 10 on the penalty-kill the previous three games. … Miller had an assist for the fifth straight game.
Golden Knights: At the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.
Islanders: At the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.