The New Jersey Devils finally defeated the Islanders after failing the first five times this season. The Devils used third period goals by Zach Parise and Brian Gionta to defeat the Islanders 4-2, Saturday afternoon at the Prudential Center.
The Devils scored in pairs, tallying two in a span of 1:19 in the first period and then a couple 2:13 apart in the third period.
"I don't know if they took over in the third period as much as they took over the game in the first period," said a disappointed head coach Ted Nolan. "I don't know if we thought we were just going to show up and win. But the reason we were winning was by doing all the simple things, and tonight we got away from that."
Josef Vasicek and Ruslan Fedotenko scored for the Islanders, who failed to jump into a playoff spot after picking up points in seven straight games.
The Islanders were badly out-shot 42-21 by the Devils, who registered 20 shots in the third period. Rick DiPietro made 38 saves, but it wasn't enough. Martin Brodeur earned the win on 19 saves.
"They definitely took it a little higher than we did," said captain Bill Guerin. "Twenty shots in the third period is a lot. They played well tonight. The effort was there, I just don't think we had enough fight in us. I don't want to take anything away from them, but I would like to have seen us battle more."
The Islanders took a 1-0 lead when Vasicek deflected Andy Hilbert's shot by Brodeur at 7:55 of the first period.
But the Devils scored two special teams goals in the span of 1:19 less than three minutes later. After a failed clearing attempt, Patrik Elias scored on a slap shot from the right point, while on the power play. John Madden then tallied a shorthanded goal when his pass-attempt was accidentally deflected by Marc-Andre Bergeron past DiPietro.
The Islanders scored the only goal of the second period to even the score at two. Fedotenko walked out of the corner and fooled Brodeur with a no-look shot at 1:53 of the middle frame. Trent Hunter and Frans Nielsen picked up the assists on Fedotenko's 14th goal of the season.
"We didn't play as well in the first period, but we came out stronger in the second," said Fedotenko. "Usually in the third period we do a much better job than we did today."
After tying the game at two, the Islanders were given a 1:17 of 5-on-3 power play time, but failed to generate much offense.
"I think we're trying to make too many cute plays on the 5-on-3," said Guerin. "They have some great penalty killers with a lot of experience. We're not going to fool guys like Madden, Pandolfo and White. You have to keep it relatively simple and I think we've gotten away from it the last couple that we've had."
Parise scored at 2:30 of the third period by racing past Aaron Johnson and throwing the puck just inside the far post. Gionta tallied then his 16th goal of the season on a rebound.
"I thought we played well for the first 40 minutes, but two mistakes on my part in the third period affected the outcome of the game," said a straightforward Johnson. "That first one took the wind out of our sails. It hurt us, but we tried to battle through it."
The Islanders return to action against the surging Pittsburgh Penguins for a 7:05 showdown at the Nassau Coliseum.
"We're right in the thick of things," said Guerin. "We just need to continue to put out a strong effort every game. Like every team we're fighting with, we don't have the luxury to take a game off."
Added Nolan: "Look where we were three weeks ago compared to where we are today. You make ground. There's always tomorrow, but we have to regroup and get back to what made us successful the previous six games."
Five Stars of the Game: 1. Zach Parise: Scored the game-winner on pure hustle, team-leading 25th goal, assist 2. Brian Gionta: Tallied back-breaking goal, 4 shots, won 75% of faceoffs 3. Patrik Elias: Got the Devils offense started with PP tally, 4. Ruslan Fedotenko: Continues to produce for the Islanders 5. Paul Martin: One assist, +1, 28:20 TOI
Stat of the Game: The Devils out-shot the Islanders 20-4 in the third period
Roadies - The Islanders Booster Club was out in full force today, proudly representing the Orange and Blue at the Prudential Center.
Slapshots: The Islanders lost their first-ever contest at The Rock…Ruslan Fedotenko has scored five goals in his past seven games…It's the Islanders first regulation loss since February 7… Bruno Gervais returned to the lineup after missing the past six games…Prior to today's game, Ted Nolan announced that Mike Sillinger would be out for the rest of the season and requires hip surgery. He will be under the care of Dr. Marc Philippon, who performed successful hip surgery on Rick DiPietro last year...Yesterday Trent Hunter signed a 5-year extension keeping him an Islander through the 2012-2013 season.
11 Andy Hilbert - 89 Mike Comrie - 13 Bill Guerin
26 Ruslan Fedotenko - 63 Josef Vasicek – 7 Trent Hunter
12 Chris Simon – 51 Frans Nielsen – 57 Blake Comeau
20 Sean Bergenheim – 10 Richard Park – 81 Miroslav Satan
Goaltenders 30 Martin Brodeur
1 Kevin Weekes
29 Johnny Oduya - 7 Paul Martin
5 Colin White - 27 Mike Mottau
6 Andy Greene – 8 Sheldon Brookbank
16 Dainius Zubrus – 19 Travis Zajac– 14 Brian Gionta
9 Zach Parise - 26 Patrik Elias - 15 Jamie Langenbrunner
22 Arron Asham – 17 Mike Rupp – 23 David Clarkson
20 Jay Pandolfo – 11 John Madden - 18 Sergei Brylin
Check out the Islanders TV Game Day tab for complete coverage of tonight’s game.
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YOUR CHANCE TO SKATE WITH LEGENDS
"Skate with the Greats": Islanders fans have the opportunity of a lifetime to skate at RexCorp Plaza with the Islanders Dynasty members on March 1
Ever wanted to skate on an outdoor rink with Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Bobby Nystrom and your other Islanders heroes...and have the Stanley Cup nearby?
You can when the Islanders host "Skate with the Greats" on Saturday night, March 1 at 7:00 pm at Rexcorp Plaza. The night is a benefit for the New York Islanders Children's Foundation and is limited to just 100 guests so you'll have plenty of "time and space" on the outdoor rink to rub elbows with the legends.
"Quite simply, the Islanders have never had an intimate event as special as 'Skate with the Greats' is going to be," said Bossy, the greatest goal scorer of his generation and a hero to countless Islanders fans. "Because it's for the Islanders Children's Foundation, we wanted to make it first-class for our benefactors. I promise you that my teammates and I are going to make this a night you will never forget."
Not only will you have the chance to meet and skate with your favorite Islanders legends from the past, but the Stanley Cup will be also be in attendance for photo ops. There will be a silent auction during the evening, which includes cocktails and dinner. Appetizers and beverages will also be served rinkside when the "Core of the Four" members skate from 7 - 8:00 pm before the evening moves inside to the gorgeous Rexcorp Atrium.
"I look forward to meeting our fans and getting the rare chance for me to skate alongside them," said Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier. "It's going to be a blast and best of all it's for a terrific cause, the New York Islanders Children's Foundation. I've talked to a bunch of the guys and they're really looking forward to it."
"Skate with the Greats" is part of the weekend's Core of the Four celebration to honor the men that were part of all four Stanley Cup winning Islanders teams. RexCorp Plaza is located across Hempstead Turnpike from the Nassau Coliseum.