Playing in only his second NHL game of the season, Joey MacDonald withstood a slew of shots – 47 – and turned away 45, but the New Jersey captured a 2-1 victory in overtime, Tuesday night at the Nassau Coliseum.
"I thought MacDonald played a very solid game," said head coach Ted Nolan. "With all of the inexperience, we give our goaltenders good work. Dubielewicz gave us a good performance the other day and MacDonald played equally well tonight."
MacDonald allowed only one goal in regulation – a slapshot by Patrik Elias in the second period, while on the power play. It was one of 21 shots by the Devils in the second period. Zach Parise scored the game-winner 29 seconds into overtime when he deflected Johnny Oduya's point shot past MacDonald to move New Jersey two points ahead of the Rangers for fourth place in the Atlantic Division.
"Everybody has something to prove," said MacDonald. "It makes it easier when a lot of the guys have played together down in Bridgeport. It's also easier when you see that around the room."
Josef Vasicek scored the lone goal for the Islanders, who have picked up points in the past two games.
The Islanders showed jump in the first period, keeping the shots close and New Jersey off the scoreboard.
As time was winding down in the first period, Bill Guerin never quit on the play, leading to a 1-0 Islanders advantage. Andy Greene was inches away from corralling the puck in his own end, but Guerin dove forward to chip it by him and lead Vasicek on a breakaway. Vasicek scored with a deke to the backhand with under 52 seconds to play in the first period.
"We tried to keep it as basic as we can and it worked in the first period," said Nolan. "That's a very talented team on the other side and eventually they got the better of us."
New Jersey tied the score at two on the power play at 5:42 of the second period. Elias ripped a slapshot over the glove of MacDonald for his 20th goal of the season.
Martin Brodeur earned the win making 21 saves.
The Islanders play the Rangers in their final two games of the season, hosting them on Thursday and then traveling to Madison Square Garden on Friday.
"This is a great test for a lot of these young kids," said Nolan. "We'll see how they can react. It's good to play one good game, but let's see if they can play two or three good ones in a row." CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE FINAL HOME GAME OF THE SEASON.
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Joey MacDonald: After helping the Sound Tigers stay in the AHL playoff race, kept the Islanders in the game; stopped at least 12 shots in each period 2. Zach Parise: Scored his sixth poin 3. Johnny Oduya: Two primary assists 4. Josef Vasicek: Kept up his excellent play against NJ 5. Martin Brodeur: Did what he had to do to pick up the two points
Stat of the Game: Shots were 21-5 in favor of the Devils in the second period
Slapshots: Josef Vasicek has five goals in eight games against the Devils…The Islanders were 6-1-1 against the Devils this season…Joey MacDonald set an NHL career high with 45 saves…Tonight's attendance was 12,357...Matt Keith and Kip Brennan made their Islanders debuts.
Game Operations: Tonight's 50/50 raffle charity was the Knights of Pythius Diabetes Research Association…Trent Hunter was awarded the Sharp Islanders Player of the Month Award prior to the game. A $500 donation will be made to the Islanders Children's Foundation in his name…
The NYI Mobile Question tonight was "Who was the Islanders' MVP for 2007-08. A random participant will win an autograph from the player with the most votes...The Great Neck Bruins were the Mites on Ice during the first intermission…
The Long Island women's hockey team playing at the Empire State Games was recognized for their Gold Medal victory
Kickbutt Fan of the Game: Matt from West Babylon came to the Coliseum to see Isles rising star Kyle Okposo, donning his jersey. Okposo has become one of Matt's favorite Islanders recently. "He has been playing real well and I hope he can keep it up," said Matt.
Check out the Islanders TV Game Day tab for complete coverage tonight’s game.