UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) _ To say that defense was lacking from Tuesday night's 7-7 overtime tie between the New York Islanders and the St. Louis Blues would be an understatement. To have praise for the goaltenders borders on the absurd.

''I would say Joseph kept us in the game, and Mr. Healy made some incredible saves in the third period to keep them in,'' Blues coach Brian Sutter said. ''What do you say? When you get the opportunities that both teams got, the goalies had to be sharp.''

Steve Thomas' rebound shot that ticked St. Louis goalie Curtis Joseph's glove and tucked under the crossbar with 17 seconds left capped a wild game that saw New York blow a 5-2 second-period lead.

Nelson Emerson had given the Blues a 7-6 lead with only 2:59 left, blasting a rising right point shot that flew over Glenn Healy's right shoulder.

The game also featured hat tricks by the Blues' Brett Hull and the Islanders' Ray Ferraro.

''The only thing I take personal is to be a leader out there,'' Hull said, shrugging off his league-leading 27 goals and 13th career hat trick. ''I can play hard without scoring goals, and the more opportunities I get, the better I'm playing.''

Hull scored once in each period, and in a variety of ways.

After Pierre Turgeon's in-tight wrist shot 44 seconds into the game started the scoring, Ron Sutter's wraparound at 5:09 tied it for St. Louis. Benoit Hogue's rising shot gave New York a 2-1 lead. Hull's first goal was a wrist shot from 15 feet that tied the game.

''He's the best scorer in the league for a reason,'' Ferraro said.

Ferraro then got a chance to show his scoring touch by getting a natural hat trick in a 4:43 span of the second period to give New York a 5-2 lead.

Linemate Patrick Flatley assisted on all three goals, the first a wrist shot that tucked under the crossbar at 23 seconds. Ferraro's second goal was a rebound of his own shot that he put through Joseph's pads at 4:16.

Finally, on a break-in, Ferraro deked Joseph and put the puck between is right pad and the post at 5:06.

''The only other natural I ever had was about three seasons ago, when I was with Hartford,'' Ferraro said. ''It was against New Jersey. It's a tremendous feeling.''

Ferraro now has six career hat tricks, but he lamented the lack of defense New York recently has shown.

''We've given up 17 goals in the last three games, and for our team to be effective, we have to be tighter defensively,'' Ferraro said. ''It seemed like we had pressure for a long time, and then (St. Louis) would come down with one quality chance, and it would be in the net. We have to eliminate some of those chances.''

Hull continued his roll, re-directing Rick Zombo's point shot in the high slot at 9:39 to cut the defecit to 5-3.

Zombo's point slap shot at 2:23 of the third and Adam Creighton's one-timer 25 seconds later gave the Islanders a seemingly safe 6-4 lead.

Then Dave Christian's goal set the stage for Hull's hat trick.

On a power play, Hull fired a 45-foot bullet that eluded Healy, and St. Louis had tied it 6-6.

''I don't worry about yesterday or tomorrow,'' Hull said of the evening's events. ''I just go out and live for today.

''It was brutal,'' Joseph said. ''We should have won. I let in a couple of bad ones. It was a tough, tough game.''

Healy has seen this type of game many times in his career.

''Back in the days of (playing for) L.A., this was commonplace,'' Healy said. ''It was an offensive style game, that's for sure.''