The New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils are both led by high-scoring offensive trios, but they played to a low-scoring, low-shooting 3-1 Islanders loss Tuesday night at Prudential Center.
Neither the Islanders nor Devils managed to put many shots on goal, totaling 20 each.
“They played their game to a tee,” Al Montoya said. “They kept us to the outside. Right off the bat we had a couple of chances, maybe our best chances, but they really just shut us down from there.”
Both teams struck early, each scoring before the game was four minutes old. Patrik Elias put the Devils on top at 1:18 and Matt Moulson tied the score 2:39 later with a backhand through Johan Hedberg’s five-hole. Moulson’s 35th goal extended his point-streak to three games (1g/3a).
“I just want to help this team win,” Moulson said. “For me it’s putting [pucks] in the net around the cage. If I could score every game that would be my goal, but that’s not possible.”
The Devils retook the lead 22 seconds into the second period as Travis Zajac one-timed his second goal of the season from the slot on a Devils power play. New Jersey controlled the flow for most of the period, but the Isles led in shots 16-14 after 40 minutes.
The Islanders were in danger of not putting any shots on net in the third, but turned on the pressure at the end of the period. Unfortunately with their net empty, Ilya Kovalchuk put the finishing touch on the Devils victory.
For the Islanders, it was their third loss in a row after a 5-1 stretch starting on Mar. 17.
Oklahoma native Matt Donovan made his NHL debut Tuesday night, playing 21:52, blocking three shots and delivering three hits on a pairing with Dylan Reese, his defensive partner in Bridgeport.
“It made it so much more comfortable for me,” Donovan said of getting to play with Reese. “It was pretty easy jumping in there with Reeser and it made playing out there a lot easier.”
With his first period assist, Tavares notched his 200th career point. Tavares reached the milestone in his 241st career game and has 79 points (31g/48a) in 80 games this season.
The Islanders play their final home game of the season Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets at 7 p.m.