The New Jersey Devils suffered their first loss of 2006 against one New York team. They’ll look to get back in the win column against the other when they play the Islanders for the second time in four days.
The Devils beat the Islanders 3-2 on Saturday on a goal by Zach Parise in the fifth round of a shootout to extend their winning streak to nine games, their longest since a 13-game run from Feb. 26-March 23, 2001.
However, New Jersey’s streak ended with a 3-1 loss to the Rangers on Sunday, dropping the Devils to 2-3-1 against their rivals this season. The Devils entered 2005-06 with a 25-8-1 mark and 13 ties against the Rangers since the start of 1996-97.
“It’s going to happen,” said New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur. “You can’t go on all your life and beat up on somebody. They’re going to retaliate sometimes. They’re a different team than what they were a few years back.”
Brodeur made 30 saves for the Devils, who cut a 2-0 deficit in half on Scott Gomez’s 18th goal of the season at 6:36 of the third period. Gomez had gone consecutive games without registering a point following a 10-game point streak in which he had eight goals and 11 assists.
In his career against the Islanders, Gomez has two goals and 25 assists in 28 games. He scored his first NHL goal against them and added two assists in a 4-1 win on Oct. 16, 1999.
New Jersey may be without forward Grant Marshall for this game after he was injured against the Rangers when defenseman Darius Kasparaitis elbowed him in the head. A team spokesman said Marshall, who has six goals and 11 assists in 44 games this season, was conscious after he was removed from the ice.
The Islanders enter with consecutive losses and a 3-10-1 mark in their last 14 games since a 4-2 win over the Devils on Dec. 21.
Over that 14-game span, New York has been outscored 52-28 and is 9-for-67 (13.4 percent) on the power play.
In Saturday’s loss to the Devils, Miroslav Satan and Mark Parrish scored third-period goals to erase a 2-0 deficit and send the game into overtime. The Islanders had plenty of opportunities to win from there, with four shots on goal in the extra session before their final four attempts were thwarted by Brodeur in the shootout.
Goalie Rick DiPietro, who made 35 saves but was unable to stop Parise in the shootout, feels his team is moving in the right direction despite its recent struggles.
“I think it is encouraging that we are working harder,” DiPietro said. “Our work ethic has improved and, if that continues, we will start making strides.”
DiPietro is 2-3-1 with one tie and a 2.94 goal-against average against the Devils in his career.