New Jersey (19-6-1) at New York (17-15-1)

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  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Mon Dec 29, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The New York Islanders seem to be turning things around against the New Jersey Devils.

The resurgent Islanders look to win their fifth straight game and third in a row over the defending Stanley Cup champions when they host the Devils at Nassau Coliseum.

New York was shut out in three straight meetings with New Jersey, including the first two this season, but has scored nine goals in two victories since.

The Islanders were 0-6-1 in seven games against the Devils before a 5-4 win on Dec. 16 and a 4-3 overtime victory Friday.

“It was huge for our hockey club, especially the way it’s been going against the Devils,” said right wing Trent Hunter. “It shows the heart and character of the team.”

Mark Parrish scored 1:25 into overtime to give the Islanders the win before scoring two goals in an impressive 3-1 win over the NHL-leading Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

“It’s obviously a good feeling,” Islanders coach Steve Stirling said of beating the Devils. “It builds more confidence, which we need to continue to do.”

New York has gone 8-2-0-1 since a season-high seven-game losing streak to move into third place in the Atlantic Division. The Islanders have won six straight home games during that stretch, improving to 13-6 at the Coliseum and tying Philadelphia for the second-most home victories in the league. Detroit leads the NHL with 14.

The Islanders face one of the best road teams in the NHL in the Devils, who at 10-2-5 have the fewest road losses in the league.

Following this matchup, the Islanders play their next three games on the road, where they have struggled to a 4-9-2-1 record this season.

Saturday’s game was the Islanders’ second without Alexei Yashin, who will miss 10 to 12 weeks after having tendons partially severed in his right wrist in a 4-2 win over the Flyers on Tuesday. Yashin was second on the team with 24 points.

The Devils followed Friday’s loss with a 2-0 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. Backup goaltender Corey Schwab did his best impression of regular starter Martin Brodeur with 21 saves and a shutout in only his second start of the season.

Brodeur has started 32 games, leads the NHL with eight shutouts and is tied with Maple Leafs goalie Ed Belfour for the league lead with 18 wins.

“Obviously, he’s in a unique situation where he’s playing behind one of the best goalies of all time. But he’s always ready, and when he plays he’s always sharp,” left wing Jeff Friesen said of Schwab. “It’s a reflection of his work ethic.”

Brodeur has continued his dominance of late against everyone except the Islanders, who account for two of the three games in which he’s allowed more than three goals and have handed him his only two losses since Dec. 4 (6-2-2).

In his other eight games during that stretch, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner has allowed just eight goals and posted four shutouts, giving him 72 in his career—most among active goaltenders.

“Nothing comes easy against Brodeur and the Devils,” said Parrish.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 27): Devils - 47 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Atlantic Division. Islanders - 37 points, 3rd place, 11 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Patrik Elias, 10 goals, 18 assists and 28 points; David Hale, 42 PIM. Islanders - Mariusz Czerkawski, 13 goals and 25 points; Adrian Aucoin, 20 assists; Eric Cairns, 90 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 27): Devils - Power play: 16.8 percent (12 for 131), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 88.9 percent (104 for 117), 1st. Islanders - Power play: 14 percent (19 for 136), 21st. Penalty killing: 83.2 percent (129 for 155), 20th.

GOALTENDERS: Devils - Brodeur (18-7-7, 8 SO, 1.69 GAA); Schwab (1-0-1, 1, 0.48). Islanders - Garth Snow (10-8-1, 1, 2.83); Rick DiPietro (7-8-1, 1, 2.46).


LAST MEETING: Dec. 26; Islanders, 4-3, OT. At East Rutherford, N.J., Snow made 26 saves and Oleg Kvasha had a goal and an assist as the Islanders won for just the third time in their last 12 games at Continental Airlines Arena.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devils - 10-2-5-0 on the road; Islanders - 13-6-0-0 at home.

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