Three times in the calendar year, and twice this season, Martin Brodeur and the Devils shut out the Islanders and skated off with victories. That all changed Tuesday night.
Alexei Yashin and Jason Blake scored 30 seconds apart in a frenetic third period to lift the Islanders to a stunning 5-4 victory.
New Jersey was 6-0-1 with four shutouts in its last seven games against New York, outscoring the Islanders 27-7 in the process -- including a 1-0 overtime victory last week.
But the Devils couldn't hold leads of 2-0 and 3-2 and Brodeur allowed all five goals on 28 shots. New Jersey went 204 minutes, 38 seconds since giving up an Islanders' goal.
"It's nice to play those 1-0 games, but this was fun. It was an exciting game also, just a little different," Brodeur said.
The Devils tied it 4-4 when Sergei Brylin scored a power-play tally just 17 seconds after Blake gave the Islanders their first lead with a short-handed goal.
Blake put New York ahead with 6:05 left, and Yashin scored at 14:25. The Islanders are 4-0-0-1 since a seven-game losing streak and took three of four points from the Stanley Cup champion Devils in a six-day span.
Michael Peca, Trent Hunter, and Kenny Jonsson also scored for the Islanders.
"We've had a good start to December, and we have to sustain it," Peca said.
Michael Rupp had two goals, and John Madden added one for the Devils, who lost for the first time in six games (4-1-1).
"Every time we seemed to get an edge, they came out harder," Rupp said.
Hunter tied it at 3 for the Islanders with his team-leading 12th goal, scored during a power play, at 9:37 of the second.
"It was huge for our hockey club, especially the way it's been going against the Devils," Hunter said. "It shows the heart and character of the team. We didn't get down and kept working hard."
New Jersey held New York without a shot for the first 71/2 minutes and led 2-0 when Rupp scored two goals 2:51 apart in the opening period on the Devils' third and fourth shots.
Rupp, who scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Devils last season, has five goals this season and three in two games.
Just 14 seconds after the Islanders recorded their first shot, Peca brought them within 2-1 with his fourth of the season and first not into an empty net since Oct. 20.
"If we were able to keep them at 2-0 after one period, I think we would've been all right," Brodeur said. "I think it definitely got them some momentum."
Peca got his stick on a shot by Hunter and the puck trickled in with 7:14 left in the first.
"I felt good with my game the last few weeks, so it's not a burden," Peca said. "I had chances over the last couple of weeks, and I knew that some would eventually go in."
He set up Jonsson's tying goal 23 seconds into the middle period when he won a faceoff in the New Jersey zone. Jonsson sent a long shot that beat Brodeur, who appeared screened by Peca, for his first of the season.
"I thought we played hard, they just had a lot of good bounces," Brodeur said. "They shot a lot of pucks through screens that found their way into the net."
Madden missed the key home-and-home series against Philadelphia when the Devils took three of a possible four points from the NHL-leading Flyers. He returned from a facial injury and was the beneficiary of a gift from Islanders forward Mariusz Czerkawski.
Czerkawski made a hard pass across the Devils zone that missed its target and caromed out. Madden jumped on the puck and skated in alone on Garth Snow, firing a shot that tipped the goalie's glove on the way in to make it 3-2 at 4:43.
Snow finished with 29 saves.
|Mike Rupp (4) ASST: Grant Marshall (2), Scott Gomez (12)|
1 - 0 NJD
|Mike Rupp (5) ASST: Brian Rafalski (15), Grant Marshall (3)|
2 - 0 NJD
|Michael Peca (4) ASST: Trent Hunter (8)|
2 - 1 NJD
|Kenny Jonsson (1) ASST: Michael Peca (12)|
2 - 2 Tie
|John Madden (5) ASST: NONE|
3 - 2 NJD
|PPG - Trent Hunter (12) ASST: Roman Hamrlik (10), Alexei Yashin (11)|
3 - 3 Tie
|SHG - Jason Blake (7) ASST: Oleg Kvasha (10), Kenny Jonsson (5)|
4 - 3 NYI
|PPG - Sergei Brylin (4) ASST: Colin White (4)|
4 - 4 Tie
|Alexei Yashin (10) ASST: Mariusz Czerkawski (8), Oleg Kvasha (11)|
5 - 4 NYI
|Scott Gomez Too many men on the ice|
|Jason Blake Interference|
|Scott Gomez Hi-sticking|
|Erik Rasmussen Hi-sticking|
|Mariusz Czerkawski Holding|
|Adrian Aucoin Hi-sticking|
|Janne Niinimaa Tripping|