UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -Rick DiPietro was outstanding again. Martin Brodeur was even better.
Brodeur stopped 29 shots for his NHL-leading sixth shutout of the season and the 86th of his career, and Brian Rafalski's unusual goal was all the New Jersey Devils needed in a 2-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
"For the fans, they just witnessed world-class goaltending at both ends," Devils forward Scott Gomez said. "It was a great game, with a lot of chances, a lot of end-to-end rushes, and a lot of hitting."
The Devils increased their Atlantic Division lead to six points over the Islanders.
"It was pretty exciting hockey," Devils coach Claude Julien said. "If it were not for the goaltending, it would have been a different outcome."
Patrick Elias scored an empty-net power-play goal with 10.6 seconds left to complete the scoring.
DiPietro was solid, turning aside 36 shots, but the Islanders have now been blanked for the last 138:12, allowing three goals in the span.
DiPietro's home shutout streak ended at 191:04 when New Jersey scored a fluke goal 5:21 into the game. Rafalski took a rising shot from the right point that defenseman Allan Rourke tried to bat away with his glove. Instead, Rourke ticked the puck the wrong way, and it got past DiPietro.
"I just tried to put it on net," Rafalski said. "I saw it flutter, and I saw (Rourke) try to swat it away. The next thing I know, it was in the net."
Rourke felt badly about the miscue.
"It was a bad bounce - I feel awful," he said. "I got it with a piece of my glove, and it wound up going past Ricky. It was my first shift of my first game this year - I want to apologize to the team."
DiPietro said that things like this happen.
"It floated in the air," DiPietro said. "Roarky swatted at it to knock it down, and he knocked it over me and into the net. I told him not to worry, that we'll get bounces like that too."
At the 3-minute mark of the second period, Brodeur became the eighth goalie in NHL history to play 50,000 minutes.
Both goalies took shots off the mask while short-handed. Brodeur shook off Sean Hill's blast with about 3 minutes left in the period, and DiPietro used his head to stop a shot right before the horn blew.
Brodeur also took another one on the noggin in the third period.
"I guess I was using my head tonight," Brodeur said.
Brodeur's biggest save of the period came at 4:31 when he pinwheeled his pads while on his back to stop Shawn Bates at the left post.
After the final horn, DiPietro passed the puck down to Brodeur, and the goalies waved to each other.
"That was a great gesture," Brodeur said. "He's a nice kid. I've talked to him before, and he's a good guy and a good goalie."
And as for the low-scoring game, Brodeur said, "People always think a 7-6 game is the way to go for excitement. I think both teams tonight proved that theory wrong."
Notes: Rourke was called up from Bridgeport to replace Radek Martinek, out for about four weeks after breaking a bone in his right foot during Tuesday's 2-0 win over the Rangers. Martinek also played the next night in the Islanders' 2-0 loss at Ottawa. Rafalski needs just three more games for 500 in his NHL career, while Islanders counterpart Sean Hill needs the same amount for 800. After having no sellouts in their first 18 home games, the Islanders have drawn back-to-back capacity crowds of 16,234.
|Brian Rafalski (2) ASST: Jay Pandolfo (6), John Madden (12)|
1 - 0 NJD
|PPG - EN - Patrik Elias (15) ASST: Johnny Oduya (4), Scott Gomez (22)|
2 - 0 NJD
|Trent Hunter Hooking|
|Trent Hunter Too many men/ice - bench|
|Brad Lukowich Tripping|
|Brendan Witt Slashing|
|Brad Lukowich Roughing|
|Martin Brodeur Slashing|
|Andy Hilbert Hooking|
|Brian Rafalski Hooking|
|Miroslav Satan Tripping|
|Sergei Brylin Fighting (maj)|
|Chris Campoli Fighting (maj)|