By Kerry Gwydir
The new shootout format was front and center to decide Sunday night's exhibition matchup between the Islanders and New Jersey Devils. And the Devils prevailed, 3-2, in the new format after the teams were tied at two after regulation and overtime.
Rob Collins scored on the Isle's first shootout shot, but Trent Hunter (missed the net) and Mattias Weinhandl (stopped) were the Islander's other shooters while Zach Parise and Alex Mogilny both scored for the hosts in the shootout.
As it's been a constant for the exhibition season, Garth Snow was again very sharp as he stopped 44 shots in regulation and overtime at the Continental Airlines Arena. On the evening, Steve Stirling's club was outshot, 46-32.
Radek Martinek got the Isles on the board first just 5:37 into the game when he beat Martin Brodeur with a short-side tally from the right faceoff dot. The Islander defender made a nifty move to slip around a New Jersey defender and snap off a shot that found a spot inside the post. Mattias Weinhandl and Wyatt Smith. Brodeur split the game with Scott Clemmensen.
The Devil's fourth line got that back with 9:13 to go in the opener when the Isle's defensive coverage broke down in front of Garth Snow. Pascal Rheaume was left untouched in front of the Islander's net and one-timed Grant Marshall's feed past Snow.
As both teams were held off the board in the second period, the story continued to be the play of Snow, who continued to thwart quality opposition scoring threats. His best stop came in the final 30 seconds off a scramble in front that started with a tip by the Devil's Marshall. With bodies flying around him, Snow then followed that up by blocking off a pair of rebound whacks by Parise at the left post.
However, just a 1:57 into the third period, Parise put the hosts in front as he fought off Dustin Kohn's checking and slipped a backhander under Snow. It appeared the Islander goaltender stopped most of the puck, but not enough as it slipped over the goal line.
Justin Papineau put the Isles back on the board seven minutes later when he slammed home a healthy rebound put out in front by New Jersey's Clemmensen. Weinhandl notched the primary assist, his second on the night. The Islander's winger made the key play of the sequence by looking off New Jersey defenseman Dan McGillis and snapping a wrister on net that Clemmensen couldn't handle. Martinek also posted his second point on the evening with the secondary assist.
New Jersey continued to pile up the shots and quality scoring opportunities later in the third. Devil's winger Illka Pikkarainen was robbed on a breakaway with five minutes left to go in regulation by Snow when the New Jersey forward attempted to go top shelf.
A penalty to the Devil's Barry Tallackson in the offensive zone with 2:45 remaining in overtime gave the Islander's powerplay a chance to win the game in the extra frame. But the best opportunity came from the Devils when Brian Rafalski broke down the left wing on a 2-on-1, which Snow cradled in his chest protector.
The Islander's next preseason matchup is Tuesday in Philadelphia vs. the Flyers at 7pm.
(55) Jason Blake-(16) Mike York-(7) Trent Hunter
(47) Justin Papineau-(28) Wyatt Smith-(11) Mattias Weinhandl
(10) Sean Bergenheim-(27) Jeremy Colliton-(54) Rob Collins
(63) Cole Jarrett-(62) Kevin Colley-(48) Steve Regier
(77) Alexei Zhitnik-(4) Joel Bouchard
(44) Janne Niinimaa-(43) Ryan Caldwell
(2) Chris Campoli-(6) Bruno Gervais
(30) Garth Snow
(34) Wade Dubielewicz
(12) Jeff Friesen-(23) Scott Gomez-(89) Alex Mogilny
(62) Barry Tallackson-(51) Zach Parise-(22) Viktor Kozlov
(47) Adrian Foster-(11) John Madden-(58) Ilkka Pikkarainen
(19) Krzysztof Oliwa-(21) Pascal Rheaume-(29) Grant Marshall
(6) Dan McGillis-(7) Paul Martin
(24) Richard Matvichuk-(28) Brian Rafalski
(25) David Hale-(8) Sean Brown
(30) Martin Brodeur
(40) Scott Clemmenson