The fourth meeting between the Islanders and Devils was decided in net, as an early exit for Rick DiPietro and a 24-save shut-out by Martin Brodeur sent the Islanders to a 4-0 loss Tuesday night on Long Island.
Despite the Islanders holding a distinct edge in shots after 10 minutes, the Jumbotron had the two teams even and scoreless. A penalty to Jason Blake would change all that, as the Devils capitalized on their first powerplay of the night. Picking up his own rebound in front of Rick DiPietro, Patrik Elias tucked it through Mike York's legs and fed Jamie Langenbrunner at the point for a shot on goal. The puck bounced off Alexei Zhitnik hand and then DiPietro's leg pad, before settling on Scott Gomez' stick in the crease for a tap-in.
Earlier in the first period, with the Islanders on their only powerplay of the period, Arron Asham made a hard drive to the front of the Devils' net, but was stoned by Brodeur. The New Jersey netminder ended up worse for the effort, ending up down on his back, in obvious pain. After a moment to recovery, Brodeur returned to his skates and stayed in the game, stopping 11 shots in the period. Brodeur wasn't the only player to get some rough treatment, as Eric Godard caught a knee in his back while skating toward Brodeur's crease, and sat on the bench for the rest of the period.
The Devils got off to a quick start in the second period, with Jamie Langenbrunner once again getting on the scoresheet 19 seconds into the middle stanza. Taking a drop pass behind the net from John Madden, Langenbrunner curled out in front of the net and flicked the puck over DiPietro's glove-hand for a 2-0 advantage.
It quickly became a 3-0 edge when New Jersey converted on Alexei Zhitnik's penalty four minutes later. Patrik Elias controlled the puck along the wall, waiting for an opening, when he spotted Brian Gionta to the left of Rick DiPietro's crease. A well-aimed pass slid between Brent Sopel's feet in front of the Islanders' net, where Gionta pounced to tuck it just past DiPietro's sliding skate.
DiPietro's night ended with the Devils' fourth goal, a seeing-eye wrister by Viktor Kozlov that caught the netminder moving. Faking out Alexei Yashin along the goal line, Kozlove skated out of the corner and whipped a shot off DiPietro's left leg and through his five-hole. Wade Dubielewicz got the call to relieve DiPietro, stopping all 11 shots he faced, in his sixth appearance this year.
OFF THE ICE: Three Stars of the Night: 1. Jamie Langenbrunner, 2. Scott Gomez, 3. Martin Brodeur...For the Islanders, Garth Snow (knee), Jeff Hamilton (healthy), Tomi Pettinen (healthy), and Petteri Nokelainen (knee) were scratched, while the Devils sat Grant Marshall (head), Sean Brown (healthy) and Darren Langdon (healthy)... After four games of an eight-game season series, the two teams are tied 2-2, with each team picking up wins at home and on the road.
--additional reporting by Brian Bohl
Alexi Yashin on the turning point of the game:
"We started very good and created scoring chances. After they scored a power play goal, we got frustrated and started making mistakes and that lost the game."
On playing more consistent and the reactions of the fans:
"We've been going up and down. We play one good game, but we can't put two together. I understand the fans frustration. I don't take it personally. We know they are frustrated because they want to see us win. We'll play the best we can and try to give them a reason to cheer."
Wade Dubielewicz on the spark a backup goaltender can provide:
"It's amazing how it works, it usually stops the bleeding. It gives you a chance. We had thee or four shots that could have went in and we hit a couple of posts."
(55) Jason Blake-(79) Alexei Yashin-(45) Arron Asham
(7) Trent Hunter-(16) Mike York-(81) Miroslav Satan
(12) Oleg Kvasha-(17) Shawn Bates-(37) Mark Parrish
(11) Mattias Weinhandl-(62) Kevin Colley-(49) Eric Godard
(77) Alexei Zhitnik-(3) Brent Sopel
(14) Chris Campoli-(25) Brad Lukowich
(44) John Erskine-(24) Radek Martinek
(39) Rick DiPietro
(34) Wade Dubielewicz
(26) Patrik Elias-(23) Scott Gomez-(14) Brian Gionta
(20) Jay Pandolfo-(11) John Madden-(15) Jamie Langenbrunner
(9) Zach Parise-(18) Sergei Brylin-(22) Viktor Kozlov
(10) Erik Rasmussen-(19) Jason Ryzner-(25) Cam Janssen
(24) Richard Matvichuk-(28) Brian Rafalski
(5) Colin White-(7) Paul Martin
(2) David Hale-(6) Tommy Albelin
(30) Martin Brodeur
(40) Scott Clemmensen