NEWARK, NJ -- In what was the final meeting of the season between the cross-river rivals, the Islanders were unable to defeat the division-leading New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center, falling 7-1.
The New Jersey Devils got on the board first with 9:06 remaining in the first period. Following a faceoff win deep in the Islanders zone, Paul Martin sent a shot wide to the corner which drew Islanders goaltender Martin Biron off balance. Dainius Zubrus retrieved the loose rubber and sent a sharp angle shot towards the net, which Biron chased back towards. Bounced off bodies...play under review...held up.
Zach Parise doubled the Devils lead with 5:42 left in the opening period with his 38th of the year. Paul Martin fired a shot from just in front of the Devils blue line that Biron got his glove on. However, Biron couldn’t hold onto the rebound as the puck trickled out of his glove and rolled in the crease. Parise was right in front of the net, and banged home the rebound past a diving Biron to put the Devils up 2-0.
Just a minute and a half later, Dean McAmmond increased the Devils lead to three goals with his eighth of the season. After Andrew MacDonald gloved down a dump-in from Rod Pelley, a streaking McAmmond gathered the puck and dashed down the right side of the ice. He sent what looked to be an innocent shot towards Biron, however the puck found a way through his legs and trickled over the goal line to give the Devils a 3-0 lead.
Recent Bridgeport Sound Tigers call-up, Micheal Haley looked to make a good first impression in his NHL debut, as he dropped the gloves with Rod Pelley 5:41 into the second period. Both men scrapped for well over a minute and connecting with several punches.
In 65 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Haley has 6 goals, 8 assists, and 196 penalty minutes.
Patrik Elias put the Devils up by four goals on the power play. with 8:44 left in the second period. With Trevor Gillies in the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct, the Devils power play took to work. Ilya Kovalchuk worked the puck around the Patrik Elias, who fired a slapshot from just above the blueline. Parise was right next to Biron, and provided enough a distraction as the puck got by Biron to give the Devils a 4-0 lead.
Brian Rolston added another power play goal with 49 seconds left in the second period off a one-timer from just above the blue line. Kovalchuk then added his 41st of the season to pad the Devils lead to six goals in the third period.
The Islanders would break the shutout streak however with 6:10 left in the third period, as Matt Moulson scored his team-leading 29th goal of the season. With Dainius Zubrus in the penalty box for hooking, Kyle Okposo made the goal possible by keeping a loose puck in the Devils zone at the blue line. He fed John Tavares with a behind the back pass, who then worked it down low. Moulson would deflect Tavares' pass through the legs of Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur to cut the Devils lead to 6-1.
However, Elias would score his second of the game with 1:39 left in the third period to pad the Devils lead to 7-1 - what would eventually be the final score.
The Islanders return home tomorrow night to host the Pittsburgh Penguins at 5:00 p.m. in the 2009-10 season finale.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Travis Zajac, NJD: Four assists 2. Ilya Kovalchuk, NJD: Goal and two assists 3. Zach Parise, NJD: Goal and an assist.
Slapshots: The Devils outshot the Islanders, 37-19...Kyle Okposo led all Islanders with 4 shots on goal...Mark Streit led all Islanders with 22:00 of ice time...New Jersey was 2-5 on the power play, while the Islanders were 1-3 on the man advantage.