NEWARK, N.J. -- One look at New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano and it's easy to understand why his team refuses to quit when the going gets tough this season.
After missing the season opener to undergo surgery to treat kidney stones, Capuano on Thursday took a stray puck just above his left eye that required him to leave the bench for stitches midway through the third period against the New Jersey Devils.
It didn't matter. The Islanders would ultimately reward their coach with a victory.
The visitors closed out a successful five-game road trip when forward Brad Boyes scored a power-play goal off a scramble with 2:59 remaining in overtime to give the Islanders a 5-4 win over the New Jersey Devils before 17,625 at Prudential Center.
The Islanders, who never trailed in the game, also received a pair of goals from John Tavares and single scores from Keith Aucoin and Mark Streit. Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov notched his third career victory over the Devils in 10 tries behind a workmanlike 28-save performance.
"Obviously, giving away a point [with a win in OT] is something we don't want to do, but we found a way to win on the road and that's what good teams and teams that are successful can do," Tavares said. "It feels like we're starting to understand what it takes more and more, even when things seem to be going the other way and the momentum seems to change. Our response was good each time, and we'll need more of that."
Boyes, who signed a free-agent contract with the Islanders in July, received his chance after Devils goalie Martin Brodeur misplayed the puck behind his net with the Islanders working a 4-on-3 in the extra period.
"Marty came out and played it and was trying to get a piece of it, but it slid over to Johnny [Tavares] and [Frans Nielsen] took a couple whacks at it," Boyes said. "Guys were flopping all over and I was just trying to find the puck and, when I did, I took a whack at it."
The initial attempt off the stick of Nielsen was blocked by defenseman Bryce Salvador, who was lying flat on the ice in front of the goal line to stop any shot with Brodeur out of position. Salvador even took part of Boyes' stick to the face during the follow-through on the shot, but the Devils captain was fine after the game.
"I thought I made the right decision to play the puck back there," Brodeur said. "I don't know if the puck bobbled or somebody hit my stick. After that, it was a free-for-all. [Salvador] almost had it too. Just one of those plays that I think I did the right decision.
"I thought I had plenty of time, but it kind of backfired a bit on me."
Brodeur finished the game with 31 saves.
The second goal of the season for Boyes also happened to be the third power-play goal of the game in four opportunities for the Islanders (4-2-1), who finished their five-game trip with a 3-1-1 record. They have a two-day break before the Devils (3-0-3) come to Nassau Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
Capuano was asked about his unlucky string of events to start the shortened season.
"It's unbelievable," he said. "First kidney stone surgery, and then I get hit in the face with the puck. It's just the way it goes. When I came in to get stitched up, I heard the horn go off when the Devils tied up [for the third time in the game]. We deserved at least a point in this game for the way we worked."
The Islanders' power play, which entered the game tied for fourth in the League, has struck for six goals on its past eight opportunities.
"Our power play has plenty of movement," Tavares said. "It's also knowing what we're up against and making the simple play. It's amazing how much a few inches or a few feet make when on the man advantage. We're not forcing things and moving our feet well."
Devils coach Peter DeBoer said special teams keyed the victory for the Islanders.
"We lost the special teams battles, we lost the faceoff battle," DeBoer said. "I said this before: You get what you deserve in this game. We had some opportunities but didn't play well enough to earn two points."
Adam Henrique, who was making his season debut after sitting out the opening five games following left thumb surgery, pulled the Devils into a 4-4 tie at 13:50 of the third off a backhand attempt from in tight on Nabokov. David Clarkson earned the lone assist to extend his point-scoring streak to six games for New Jersey.
"What do you say? He's got a knack for those big goals," DeBoer said of Henrique, a 2012 Calder Trophy finalist. "I thought he gave us a boost of energy."
Streit gave the visitors their third lead of the game 11:32 into the third when his shot from the point deflected off the stick of Devils defenseman Adam Larsson and past Brodeur. DeBoer said Larsson, also making his season debut in place of injured Mark Fayne (arm), was solid.
The Devils had two golden opportunities to take their first lead of the game prior to Streit's goal. The first came 5:01 into the period when Travis Zajac outmuscled defenseman Matt Carkner in the left circle before cutting into the slot. Nabokov stood his ground and turned away the attempt with his blocker. The second good chance came midway through the third when Clarkson broke in with his team on the power play but had the puck knocked off his stick from behind by a sliding Casey Cizikas.
The teams had five combined goals in the second, with the Devils holding the one-goal edge to pull into a 3-3 tie.
Tavares had given the Islanders a 3-2 lead with his second of the game off a splendid individual effort down his left wing 7:31 into the second. That goal was matched a little over 10 minutes later when Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder took a feed from Zajac at the point, skated into the left circle and ripped a shot that beat Nabokov to the long side for his first goal since April 6, 2011.
The Devils rallied from a 2-0 deficit when third-line grinders Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter each connected for their first of the season in a span of 3:08. Matt Anderson assisted on Carter's goal 6:21 into the second, marking his first NHL point. The 30-year-old undrafted free-agent signee was playing in his second NHL game.
The Islanders just missed taking their third lead of the contest with 1:06 left in the second when Michael Grabner's shorthanded breakaway attempt rang off the right post.
The Islanders took a 2-0 lead 2:41 into the second on a power-play goal by Keith Aucoin off a rebound at the left post. Defenseman Travis Hamonic set up Aucoin's fourth of the season after needling a pass through from the right point.
The Islanders opened a 1-0 lead 14:31 into the first period on a power-play goal by Tavares. After collecting a pass from Nielsen in the slot, Boyes faked a shot and dished to Tavares, who was standing uncontested low in the right inner circle.
|PPG - John Tavares (3) ASST: Brad Boyes (4), Frans Nielsen (6)|
1 - 0 NYI
|PPG - Keith Aucoin (4) ASST: Travis Hamonic (3), Andrew MacDonald (1)|
2 - 0 NYI
|Steve Bernier (1) ASST: Stephen Gionta (1), Ryan Carter (1)|
2 - 1 NYI
|Ryan Carter (1) ASST: Matt Anderson (1), Stephen Gionta (2)|
2 - 2 Tie
|John Tavares (4) ASST: Matt Moulson (4), Evgeni Nabokov (2)|
3 - 2 NYI
|Henrik Tallinder (1) ASST: Travis Zajac (1)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Mark Streit (3) ASST: David Ullstrom (3), Casey Cizikas (1)|
4 - 3 NYI
|Adam Henrique (1) ASST: David Clarkson (4), Dainius Zubrus (2)|
4 - 4 Tie
|PPG - Brad Boyes (2) ASST: Frans Nielsen (7), John Tavares (7)|
5 - 4 NYI
|Krys Barch Fighting (maj) against Marty Reasoner|
|Eric Boulton Fighting (maj) against Krys Barch|
|Evgeni Nabokov Tripping against Dainius Zubrus|
|Andy Greene Interference against Casey Cizikas|
|Marek Zidlicky Tripping against John Tavares|
|David Ullstrom Interference against Anton Volchenkov|
|Patrik Elias Unsportsmanlike conduct|
|Travis Hamonic Hooking against Adam Henrique|
|Frans Nielsen Tripping against Ryan Carter|
|Kyle Okposo Too many men/ice - bench|
|Henrik Tallinder Cross checking against Matt Moulson|