“In a shootout, guys use their skill,” head coach Jack Capauno said. “After we watched Steven Stamkos beat us down in Tampa, guys worked on it [the move] in practice.”
Bailey said he picked up the move quickly and figured he was ready to try it out with two points on the line.
“We all happened to score in practice,” Bailey said. “We said we might as well give it a try in a game.”
While Bailey’s move was unexpected, Strome’s follow-up caught the entire building – including Brodeur – by surprise.
“He wasn’t going to expect something like that twice,” said Bailey.
The wild finish contrasted the tight-checking defensive battle that characterized the game through the first two periods. The Devils led 2-1 heading into the third period before Strome revived the Islanders with a power-play goal 19 seconds in. The Islanders’ rookie showed a veteran’s poise, using Devils defenseman Andy Greene as a temporary screen before wiring a shot high-glove on Brodeur.
With the score tied 2-2, the game opened up in the third period, as the teams traded chances all the way until the shootout. Jaromir Jagr had the Devils best chance – a breakaway out of the penalty box in the third period – while Brock Nelson was stopped on an overtime breakaway that originated at the hash marks in the Isles’ defensive zone.
“It was back-and-forth hockey,” said goaltender Anders Nilsson, who made 25 saves in regulation and stopped one-of-two in the shootout. “It happens when both teams want to go for the win. Maybe it wasn’t the best game for the coaches, but I bet it was exciting for the fans.”
The Devils controlled the game in the first period, outshooting the Islanders 13-4 while opening up a 2-1 lead. Anders Lee broke the ice on the Islanders’ second shot, keeping-and-shooting on a two-on-one rush at 10:04.
The Devils answered Lee’s goal 59 seconds later, as Ryan Carter crashed the net and banged in a Steve Bernier feed. New Jersey went ahead in the last minute of the first period, as PatriknElias finished off a strong rush with a wrist shot from the top of the circle.
“We came out flat, we weren’t moving our feet,” Capuano said. “After the first we responded and in the second and third we were a pretty good hockey club.”
The shootout win was the Islanders' third against the Devils this season, as New Jersey fell to 0-13 in the skills competition in 2013-14. The win was also the Islanders 17th in their last 25 road games and improves the team’s record to 33-37-11.
The Islanders head to Buffalo to wrap up the 2013-14 season against the Sabres on Sunday. Puck drop is at 5:00 p.m.
NOTES: Frans Nielsen had a game-high two assists… Justin Johnson made his NHL debut, skating 7:15 while registering three hits… Ryan Strome had a game-high seven shots… The Islanders outhit the Devils 29-20... Former Islanders goaltender and current Devils color commentator Chico Resch announced his retirement from broadcasting - effective after the season - on Friday.
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