UNIONDALE, N.Y. - The Vancouver Canucks realize their formula for success in the first month of the season -- winning games in which they come back from multi-goal deficits -- probably isn't sustainable over the long haul.
But it's certainly a more fruitful formula than the one the New York Islanders have been employing.
Brad Richardson's goal with 2:44 left in overtime Tuesday night capped the Canucks' latest comeback and gave them a 5-4 win over the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Of the six wins for the Canucks this season, five have been of the comeback variety. The victory Tuesday marked the third time Vancouver won a game in which it trailed by two goals.
The Canucks came back from two-goal deficits in wins over Calgary and New Jersey and trailed 2-0 less than five minutes into Tuesday's game. They tied the score before the midway point of the first period on goals by Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin.
"It's nice that we're able to come back," said Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, who had 28 saves. "I don't know how many times you want to try that during the season. But there's no quit in our team, so it's a very good quality to have as a squad."
Henrik Sedin scored a game-tying goal in the second before Chris Huggins gave the Canucks their first lead by scoring with 18 seconds left in the period. Vancouver limited the Islanders to one shot in the first 10 minutes of the third period, but New York forced overtime when it pulled goalie Evgeni Nabokov and Frans Nielsen scored with 1:12 left.
"We have a ton of things to work on," Canucks coach John Tortorella said. "But the thing I like about it is going down 2-0 early, we found a way to battle back. We get scored on late and we still find a way to get two points."
Richardson took a pass from Mike Santorelli and threaded the puck between Nabokov's legs for the game winner. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for Vancouver, which improved to 3-1-1 on a season-long seven-game road trip, and washed away the frustration that built in losses to Pittsburgh and Columbus on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
The Canucks led Pittsburgh in the third period before falling 4-3 and allowed Columbus to score a pair of unanswered third-period goals in a 3-1 loss.
"We found a way to win this game, and that's what I was so disappointed (about) in Columbus," Tortorella said. "It was a game that good teams win. We didn't. Tonight is another type of game where I think if you're going to get there in the end, you need to win these games."
The Islanders (3-3-3), on the other hand, keep finding ways to lose these types of games. New York has blown a lead in four of its six losses and the defeat Tuesday marked the second time the Islanders have squandered a two-goal lead -- they led 2-0 after two periods but lost their home opener, 3-2, to Columbus on Oct. 8.
"We're just giving a little bit too much at the wrong times of the game and we're letting teams hang around and staying in it," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "And it's hurting us."
Matt Moulson scored twice and Brock Nelson scored his first NHL goal for the Islanders (3-3-3), who lost their second straight and finished a four-game homestand at 1-1-2.
Nabokov had 28 saves for the Islanders but allowed four goals for the second straight start. He gave up at least three goals in five of his eight starts, games in which the Islanders are 1-2-2.
New York coach Jack Capuano declined to talk about the Islanders' goaltending situation after the game. Backup goalie Kevin Poulin lost his lone start of the year against Chicago on Oct. 11.
NOTES: Islanders RW Michael Grabner served the first game of a two-game suspension for delivering a check to the head of Carolina's Nathan Gerbe on Saturday night. He's eligible to return next Tuesday, when the Islanders host the Rangers. ... The Islanders also played without D Lubomir Visnovsky, who suffered a concussion when he was checked into the boards Saturday and was placed on injured reserve. Visnovsky is eligible to return Saturday, when the Islanders host the Flyers, though he may need a longer stint on the shelf. ... In addition to Grabner, the Islanders scratched LW Eric Boulton. The Canucks scratched LW David Booth, C Zac Dalpe and D Yannick Weber. ... Higgins, who grew up about 45 minutes from Nassau Coliseum in Smithtown, had between 40 and 50 family members and friends at the game. ... LW Alex Burrows was on the ice during the morning skate for the Canucks. He suffered a foot injury Oct. 3 and has yet to appear in a regular season game.