UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- If the New York Islanders are to mount an unlikely playoff run, they will need contributions like the ones they got Thursday night from the right side of the locker room.
Center Anders Lee scored two game-tying goals in the third period, including the one that forced overtime with 2:40 left, and defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky scored off a turnover 1:55 into the extra session as the Islanders came back to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-4, at Nassau Coliseum.
The three players that scored for the Islanders on Thursday (right winger Michael Grabner scored a pair of short-handed goals on the same power play in the first period) have combined for just 16 goals this season -- eight fewer than center and captain John Tavares had in 59 games before he suffered a season-ending left knee injury while playing for Canada in the Olympics.
Afterward, instead of heading straight for Tavares' stall in the left corner of the locker room, reporters headed toward Lee or hung a sharp right toward Visnovsky and goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who made 18 saves.
"I think we lead by committee -- that's the message that we sent to our guys," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "And I think Johnny will tell you the same thing. He has a real big supporting cast in that room when Johnny was healthy. And now that he's not. I still believe (in that cast).
Tavares' understudies will shoulder an even bigger load over the final 21 games of the season. Center Frans Nielsen, who ranks third on the team with 18 goals, is out indefinitely due to a broken hand suffered in the Islanders' final game before the Olympic break Feb. 8.
In addition, left winger Thomas Vanek and defenseman Andrew MacDonald, New York's fourth- and fifth-leading scorers, each turned down contract extensions and are expected to be dealt to contenders by the March 5 trading deadline.
"We've got some veteran guys in there," Capuano said. "I'm not worried about the leadership and the character of this team. They'll step up when they have to."
The Islanders got contributions from every segment of the roster on Thursday. Lee, the sixth-youngest member of the Islanders at age 23, was making his season debut after being promoted from Bridgeport to replace Tavares.
Lee's power-play goal with 7:08 left tied the game at 3. Less than five minutes later, he was blanketed by a pair of Maple Leafs but still managed to poke the puck past Toronto goaltender Jonathan Bernier during a furious flurry in the crease. The goal was upheld upon review.
"To be honest, I can't even describe it," Lee said. "It was just so fun. Such a challenge to play in the NHL and face players like that. And to have it work out and go your way, it's just quite a moment."
Visnovsky, who at 37 is the second-oldest player on the roster behind Nabokov, scored just his third goal of the year when he picked up a loose puck deep in the Toronto zone and fired it past Bernier to give the Islanders (23-30-8) just their second win in their last nine games (2-6-1).
New York is 12 points behind Philadelphia for the final playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division and 14 points behind Detroit, the second wild card.
"Everybody knows he's our best player," Visnovsky said of Tavares. "We don't have a choice. Johnny's out for the regular season and we're not thinking about how we try to play with Johnny."
The Leafs, meanwhile, were left to think about the easy goals they surrendered. In addition to Visnovsky's game-winner off a turnover, gaffes by Toronto led to both of Grabner's goals.
The first goal was set up by center Casey Cizikas, who stole the puck from Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner deep in the Maple Leafs' zone and dished to Grabner.
Gaffes by Bernier and Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly -- and hustle by Grabner -- led to the go-ahead goal. MacDonald cleared the puck out of New York zone and Grabner beat Rielly down the ice. Bernier came out of the net to try and clear the puck himself, but Grabner raced past him and tucked the puck past Rielly, who had darted back to the net in hopes of deflecting the shot.
"You can't win in the NHL and give them three goals," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "Gifts. Total gifts. I've got no other word to describe the goals that we gave up."
Defenseman Paul Ranger, defenseman Dion Phaneuf and right winger Joffrey Lupul all scored in the third period for Toronto, which lost for just the fourth time in its last 15 games (11-2-2). Center Phil Kessel scored in the first period for the Maple Leafs, who lead the wild card race in the East.
Bernier made 30 saves.
NOTES: The Islanders officially placed C Frans Nielsen and C John Tavares on injured reserve on Sunday and Monday, respectively. LW Mike Halmo, C Anders Lee and C Ryan Strome were recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL on Monday. Halmo made his NHL debut on Thursday. ... In addition to LW Matt Martin (lower body), the Islanders also scratched D Matt Carkner and D Radek Martinek for Thursday night's game. ... Toronto scratched LW Frazer McLaren and RW Colton Orr. ... Maple Leafs C Dave Bolland missed his 46th straight game with a severed left ankle tendon. Toronto hoped Bolland could return after the Olympics, but he aggravated the injury while skating Tuesday and is considered day to day. ... With Tavares out, each team had two Olympians on the ice Thursday. Toronto RW Phil Kessel (eight points) and LW James van Riemsdyk (seven points) combined to score 15 points for fourth-place Team USA. Islanders RW Michael Grabner had a team-high six points for 10th-place Austria, which was captained by LW Thomas Vanek.