UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The Toronto Maple Leafs brushed off the shock of allowing a 178-foot goal and gave their dimming playoff hopes a boost.
Pavel Kubina’s third-period, power-play goal broke a tie and helped the Maple Leafs to a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
“I’m getting a little more time on the power play,” Kubina said. “Kabby (Tomas Kaberle) found me, and I just shot it.”
Kubina’s screened slap shot from the right point got through cleanly and beat Islanders goalie Wade Dubielewicz for the Maple Leafs’ third win in their past four games.
The goal was on Toronto’s fifth and final power play. Islander captain Bill Guerin said penalties hurt the Islanders.
“We took some bad penalties again, and we’re right back to where we were,” Guerin said. “We have to keep looking forward.”
Kyle Wellwood tied the game earlier in the period, and Vesa Toskala got the win by stopping 27 shots.
With a chance to clinch the game, Darcy Tucker’s goal was disallowed with 4:04 left as linemate and former Islanders forward Jason Blake was called for goaltender interference.
“I don’t understand that call,” Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. “That could have been trouble if they tied it up.”
Alexei Ponikarovsky scored an empty-netter with 27.7 seconds left.
Rob Davison scored the only goal for the Islanders over their past two games on a bouncing shot from his own blue line that fooled Toskala.
New York has lost six in a row overall, and five straight at home. Dubielewicz stopped 23 shots. The Islanders, with 177, have the fewest goals in the NHL. Only Guerin and Mike Comrie have surpassed the 20-goal mark for the team.
Islanders coach Ted Nolan was fuming about his team’s lack of intensity.
“I don’t care who is in the lineup,” Nolan said. “We have to compete. We didn’t have any drive. We played OK, but OK isn’t getting you into the playoffs.”
The Islanders trail eighth place Philadelphia by 11 points, with eight games left.
Dubielewicz got the start because Rick DiPietro had an MRI on his hip earlier in the day. He first injured the hip during the skills competition at the all-star game.
The Islanders took the lead on one of the longest goals of the NHL season at 13:48. Killing a penalty, Davison tried to clear the puck from his goal line. The puck was bouncing all the way, and as Toskala went to glove it, it took a sharp, high bounce over his glove and ended up in the net.
“It just took a bad bounce right in front of me,” Toskala said. “Things like that happen. It’s been close to happening a few times, for sure.”
The goal was Davison’s first of the season and third in his career.
“At the time, I wasn’t worried because we were playing well,” Maurice said. “I figured we’d get one back. But as we started the third period, I got a little uneasy.”
Toronto had the first seven shots of the second period, and nine of the first 10, but Dubielewicz was sharp. His best save came at 7:48 as he got his right pad against the left post to stop Matthew Stajan’s stuff attempt on a short-handed breakaway.
Toronto tied the game at 7:24 of the final period when Wellwood, in the low slot, tipped Alexander Steen’s shot between Dubielewicz’s legs.
“It feels really good to have a multi-point night,” said Wellwood, who added an assist. “I haven’t had one in a long time. It must be at least 50 games or so.”
Islanders rookie forward Kyle Okposo, the seventh overall pick in the 2006 draft, made his NHL debut and played well.
“I was a bit jittery at first, and psyched myself out,” Okposo said. “I started to calm down in the second and third. I thought the game was faster than it was. It’s no different than what I played. Obviously, guys are better, but hockey is hockey anywhere you go.”
Notes: Toronto was missing captain Mats Sundin, who missed his second straight game with a groin injury and forward Nik Antropov, who suffered a knee injury during Saturday’s 6-2 loss to Buffalo. … Colaiacovo injured his hamstring in the first period when he was hit by Sean Bergenheim. He missed the rest of the game. … Joey MacDonald was recalled from Bridgeport to back up Dubielewicz.