Parise scores tie-breaking power-play goal in third period, as New Jersey skates to 4-2 victory
For two periods, the New Jersey Devils played catch up, evening the score at 1-1 and 2-2. In the third period, however, the Devils took the lead and held on for a 4-2 victory over the Islanders on Wednesday night at the Prudential Center.
Radek Martinek scored in the first period and Kyle Okposo scored a dazzling power-play goal in the second period, but the Devils kept clawing back. Joey MacDonald withstood an onslaught, stopping 46 of 49 shots, while Kevin Weekes earned his fourth win in a row, making 23 saves.
"It's been a hard match for us all year," said Head Coach Scott Gordon, referring to the Devils. "There's a reason they're having the success that they are. We played last night and we weren't very sharp in all areas. Joey made some big saves. We didn't deserve to win the game. New Jersey out-played us."
Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner each scored two goals and the Devils capitalized on two of their five power plays. The Islanders, meanwhile, scored one power-play goal on three opportunities.
"They're a pretty frustrating team to play against," said Okposo. "They do a pretty good job with their systems. We just couldn't get anything going tonight. We needed to put more pucks on net and get more offensive zone time. Everyone seems to be doing their job and that's what we've been pressed to do by Coach. They out-shot us pretty heavily, but we had some good chances to score too and we didn't capitalize."
Martinek opened the scoring at 2:32 of the first period, when Blake Comeau found him in the slot. The defensemen wristed a shot past Weekes for his second goal of the season. Brendan Witt recorded the second assist.
Late in the first, the Islanders successfully killed off 1:38 of 5-on-3 power-play time, but the Devils would ultimately get the equalizer when Parise scored on a rebound with 1:21 to play in the opening period.
Okposo scored a highlight reel goal on the power play at 6:15 of the second period to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead. Okposo stopped a clearing attempt and then danced around Bryce Salvador before going hard to the net. His initial shot was stopped, but he collected the rebound and slammed it past Weekes for his 11th goal of the season.
"It's starting to get to the point where Kyle isn't surprising us anymore," said Gordon. "He's showing us that he has that element of skill that goes with that power forward type of play. It was a heck of a play."
Added Okposo, "I was trying to keep the puck in. A couple of players over-skated it. I caught the defenseman leaning, made the move around him and just got the rebound."
Langenbrunner knotted the game at two with a slap shot from the left circle on the power play with 3:39 to play in the second period.
Sean Bergenheim and Richard Park nearly scored while the Islanders were shorthanded in the third period, but the Devils were the ones who found the back of the net, grabbing their first lead of the game. Parise scored his second of the contest with 7:25 to play in the game off of a rebound, putting New Jersey ahead for the first time.
"It was a tough bounce for us and good bounce for them," said Okposo. "If we score that goal it's 3-2 for us. It's a game of bounces."
The Islanders pulled MacDonald for an extra attacker, but Langenbrunner scored his second goal of the game on the empty net to put the game away.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Zach Parise: 2 goals, including the game-winner 2. Paul Martin: 3 assists 3. Kyle Okposo: Played a strong all-around game, goal
Slap Shots: Doug Weight left the game in the second period and did not return after colliding with Brian Gionta. He will be re-evaluated tomorrow...Jeff Tambellini was in the lineup for Trent Hunter, who is day-to-day with a hip flexor...Jon Sim was a healthy scratch.