Islanders 5, Devils 4By Jim Hague, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Thu, Jan 31, 2013 10:00 PM EST
NEWARK, N.J. -- Brad Boyes scored a power-play goal with 2:59 left in overtime, giving the New York Islanders a 5-4 victory over the New Jersey Devils Thursday night at the Prudential Center. After Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder went off for a cross check, the Islanders put the pressure on during the power play. Boyes scored the game-winner off a mad scramble in front. The victory enabled the Islanders to push their record to 4-2-1 overall, while the Devils fell to 3-0-3, still not losing a game in regulation this season. John Tavares tallied two goals and an assist and Mark Streit and Keith Aucoin added one goal each for the Islanders. The Devils received goals from unlikely sources, all four coming by players scoring their first goal of the season. Tallinder scored his first goal in almost two years, while Steve Bernier, Ryan Carter and Adam Henrique, playing his first game after returning from a thumb injury, all scoring for New Jersey. Evegni Nabokov collected 28 saves in goal for the Islanders, earning his fourth win of the season. Martin Brodeur made 30 saves for New Jersey. The Devils sleepwalked through a lackluster first period, although they did manage to outshoot the Islanders, 10-7, over the first 20 minutes. The only excitement for New Jersey came when Krysofer Barch engaged in his first fight of the young season, exchanging fists with Islander winger Eric Boulton. The two were going toe-to-toe with several punches thrown, much to the delight of the crowd. The Devils, who scored only 12 goals over the first five games of the season, didn't have a good scoring chance in the first period, as Nabokov turned aside all 10 shots that he faced. The Islanders were the first ones to get on the scoreboard, when they took advantage of a poor interference penalty by Devils defenseman Andy Greene. Just seconds into the power play, the Isles had a perfect setup from Frans Nielsen to Brad Boyes, who spotted Tavares alone at the left flank. Tavares slid it past a frozen Brodeur for a 1-0 lead with 5:27 left in the period. It was Tavares' third goal of the season and the second on the power play. It was Nielsen's sixth assist in seven games. The Islanders took advantage of another power play opportunity in the opening minutes of the second period. With Marek Zidlicky off for a two-minute tripping penalty, Travis Hamonic made a perfect feed in front to Aucoin, whose first attempt was blocked by Brodeur, but Aucoin stayed with the play and lifted a backhander off the rebound past the sprawling Brodeur and the Islanders had a 2-0 lead at the 2:42 mark of the second. The goal seemed to energize the Devils, as they came back to slice the lead in half just 43 seconds later. Bernier knocked in a rebound of a Gionta shot for his first goal of the season to cut the lead to 2-1. It was his first goal since last Feb. 11. Less than four minutes later, the Devils' third line came through again, as Gionta made a fine play to find Ryan Carter for his first goal of the year and the game was tied at 2-2. Matt Anderson, the 30-year-old rookie, collected an assist, his first NHL career point, on the goal. Carter's last goal came last March 31. However, the tie didn't last long, as Tavares made a great play at center ice, skated through Bryce Salvador and beat a diving Brodeur to the far right side for his second goal of the game and fourth of the season. Brodeur made a mistake on the play by coming too far out of the crease and Tavares made him pay, giving the Isles a 3-2 lead with 12:29 left in the second period. The Devils then knotted things for a second time, with a sensational offensive attack that kept the puck in the Islander end for almost two full minutes, making it appear like it was a power play chance. The Devils had three shots on Nabokov, before Travis Zajac got the puck behind the goal line and fired it back to Tallinder, who scored his first goal since April of 2011 with just 2:48 remaining in the period. Tallinder missed more than half of last season with a blood clot in his leg. The Islanders had a chance to regain the lead when Michael Grabner had a breakaway opportunity, but Grabner's shot hit the right goalpost in the final minute of the second period, keeping the game tied at 3-3. The Islanders took a 4-3 lead when Streit scored with 8:18 remaining in regulation on a shot that deflected off Devils defenseman Adam Larsson's stick. It was Streit's third goal of the season. But the Devils responded once again when Henrique scored his first goal of the season in his first game on a backhand lift over Nabokov with 6:10 left, making the score 4-4. NOTES: The Devils welcomed back Stanley Cup playoff hero Adam Henrique, who suffered a torn ligament in his thumb while playing earlier in the season with Albany of the AHL. Henrique was one of the top rookies in the NHL last season, when he had 16 goals and 35 assists. He also scored overtime goals that clinched playoff series against the Florida Panthers and the New York Rangers. Henrique centered New Jersey's fourth line Thursday. ... To make room for Henrique, the team placed right wing Cam Janssen on waivers, which he cleared. He was assigned to Albany. ... New Jersey is also committed for the time being to 18-year-old Stefan Matteau, the team's top draft pick last year. The Devils were supposed to make a decision about whether to keep Matteau with the big club or ship him back to the juniors for seasoning, but that decision has been placed on hold for the time being, although Matteau was a healthy scratch Thursday. ... Devils defenseman Mark Fayne saw his consecutive games streak end at 119 Thursday night, as he sat out with a minor arm injury. ... Devils second-year defenseman Adam Larsson, who played in 65 games a year ago, made his season debut Thursday night because of Fayne's injury. Larsson was a healthy scratch for the first five games. ... Islanders right wing Colin McDonald began a two-game suspension for boarding Pittsburgh defenseman Ben Lovejoy on Tuesday.
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