Kesler scored in regulation as did Kevin Bieksa and Alexandre Burrows for the Canucks, who have now gone 17 straight games (14-0-3) without a loss in regulation. Roberto Luongo stopped 38 shots in the win.
The surge has moved Vancouver to the top spot overall in the NHL with 62 points. The last loss in regulation for the team came on December 5 against St. Louis.
Blake Comeau had a goal and an assist while Jack Hillen and Tavares each lit the lamp for the Islanders, who came into the game having won four of their last five. Kevin Poulin stopped 48 shots in a losing effort.
The only goal of the first period was Vancouver’s as Daniel Sedin threw a shot on net from the right side that caromed off Burrows and snuck past Poulin at the 4:58 mark.
The Islanders got on the board at the 15:13 mark of the second when Hillen lit the lamp for his first goal of the season.
However, it was the Canucks that took the lead into the locker room as Mikael Samuelsson sent a backhand pass from the left side to the slot where Kesler fired a wrister for his 24th goal of the season at 19:44.
The Islanders tied the game on the power play 3:14 into the third as a saucer pass by Rob Schremp at the left point went to the outside right circle where Tavares one-timed the bouncing puck home.
At the 14:24 mark, New York took its first lead of the game when Comeau’s slap shot from the left point went through a screen and into the left corner.
However, the Canucks tied the game 34 seconds later when Bieksa threw the puck to the front from a sharp angle at the right side and it hit off and Islander then went past Poulin.
Vancouver continues its five-game road trip against the Rangers on Thursday…The Islanders host Ottawa on Thursday…New York had won the previous two matchups…The Islanders were 1-for-2 on the power play while the Canucks failed on both of their chances.