On a night when Martin Brodeur once again looked for his 500th career win, it was his counterpart Rick DiPietro who shone brightest as he and the Islanders defeated New Jersey 1-0 in their inaugural visit to "The Rock" in Newark on Friday.
DiPietro picked up his ninth win of the season, making 26 saves for his second shutout of the season. Josef Vasicek's shorthanded tally in the second period proved to be the difference as the Islanders raised their record to 10-6-0.
"These are the games we want to play tight and smart," said DiPietro. "And tonight we played a good game. We limited our mistakes and came out on top. You hope every year you get better and better and things come easier. I feel I'm taking strides in the right direction and I hope it continues."
Brodeur made 24 saves in the losing effort, denying the future Hall of Famer of his 500th win in his third attempt.
DiPietro was dazzling all evening, controlling rebounds, while making some incredible stops. Patrik Elias had a glorious opportunity in the final five minutes when he broke in alone, but DiPietro was up to the task.
"I thought he played a real solid game," said head coach Ted Nolan about his goaltender. "Not just the way he stopped and blocked shots, but also the way he handled the puck."
At 5:25 of the second period, Vasicek scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season and only goal of the game, while shorthanded. Vasicek grabbed the puck in the offensive zone after defenseman Mike Mottau fell down. Corralling the puck in front of the net, Vasicek made about a dozen moves before chipping it over Martin Brodeur on the forehand.
That was all the Islanders would need as they continue their four-game road trip against the Rangers on Monday at Madison Square Garden.
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Check back for a full recap.
Five Stars of the Game: 1. Rick DiPietro: Is 2-0-0 against Brodeur this season 2. Josef Vasicek: Showed a lot of poise with the puck in close on the goal 3. Martin Brodeur: Kept his team in it, but it wasn't enough
4. Andy Sutton: Made a couple of key defensive plays late in the game 5. Chris Campoli: Jumped into the play well, 4 shots
Stat of the Game: New Jersey was shutout for the fifth time this season
Slapshots: Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie and Ruslan Fedotenko were reunited on a line...Josef Vasicek has scored both Islanders shorthanded goals this season...The Islanders have participated in an NHL record six consecutive one-goal games…The Islanders are 3-0-0 against New Jersey this season…For the third consecutive games the Islanders failed to score a power play goal.
11 Andy Hilbert – 18 Mike Sillinger – 7 Trent Hunter
26 Ruslan Fedotenko – 89 Mike Comrie – 13 Bill Guerin
20 Sean Bergenheim – 63 Josef Vasicek – 81 Miroslav Satan
12 Chris Simon – 10 Richard Park – 28 Tim Jackman
30 Martin Brodeur
1 Kevin Weekes
6 Andy Greene - 28 Karel Rachunek
27 Mike Mottau - 29 Johnny Oduya
8 Sheldon Brookbank - 2 Vitaly Vishnevski
16 Dainius Zubrus - 26 Patrik Elias - 14 Brian Gionta
19 Travis Zajac - 9 Zach Parise - 15 Jamie Langenbrunner
20 Jay Pandolfo - 11 John Madden - 10 Rod Pelley
23 David Clarkson - 18 Sergei Brylin - 22 Arron Asham