The Islanders couldn’t carry the momentum from a gritty one goal win over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday in to Thursday's contest at the Prudential Center. The Islanders fell 5-1 in game two of a rare three game set.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored in each period to complete his 13th career hat trick, tying the season series at two games apiece.
“You have to know who is out on the ice,” Jack Capuano said. “When 17’s on the ice, you have to have good puck management. We didn’t close the gap, we gave him too much room.”
The Devils big line converted early as Kovalchuk took two whacks at a puck before scoring his 27th goal of the season. Zach Parise and Adam Henrique both assisted on the opening goal.
“We came out pretty slow,” Matt Moulson said. “We had our chances on the power play but didn’t put it away and made mistakes defensively. We have to start [Saturday’s] game a lot better.”
Moulson did his part to get puck to the net. He led the team with four shots, and the Isles outshot the Devils 30-20.
Steve Staios’ tripping call in the second period proved costly for the Islanders as Kovalchuk hammered home his second goal of the evening 14 seconds into the minor.
Thirteen minutes later, the Islanders found some momentum after a fortunate bounce that wound up behind Martin Brodeur. Andrew MacDonald corralled a wide shot in the corner and from below the goal line, banked it off of Brodeur’s back to put the Isles within one.
In the third, it was the Devils pushing back and the Islanders conceded three goals in the final frame.
“Coming into the third, the wheels fell off,” PA Parenteau said. “We were definitely more in the game after AMac’s goal, but then they scored the third one, the fourth one and that was it.”
Patrik Elias put the Devils back up by two on a delayed call at 7:05 of the third period. Nabokov was able to stop Adam Larsson’s initial point shot and first rebound, but Elias was able to slide in the second attempt.
Kovalchuk completed the trick and iced the game 1:04 later, taking a Parise feed high in the slot and firing it low stick side past Nabokov. The Devils top line combined for seven points after being held scoreless on Sunday.
David Clarkson’s 27th goal of the season at 15:59 of the third period provided the final margin. Brodeur was solid all game, stopping 29 of 30 shots overall.
Capuano said he wants to see some more urgency in his team before Saturday’s rematch.
“We have to get some guys to play with a little bit more passion and urgency. If not, it’ll be the same result.”
The next chapter goes Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum at 7 p.m.