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The New York Islanders suffered their first loss of the 2023-24 season on Friday night, falling 5-4 in overtime to the New Jersey Devils at UBS Arena.

Brock Nelson and Bo Horvat scored a pair of goals, with Horvat forcing OT late in the third period, but four power-play goals from the Devils and an OT winner from Jack Hughes proved to be the difference.

That left Head Coach Lane Lambert pulling a little column A and a little from column B in his postgame assessment.

“It's a funny one because we're happy with the point in the sense that we showed resilience in coming back,” Lambert said. “But clearly, giving up those goals, we feel like we may have given something away.”

Hughes finished the night with a game-high four points (2G, 2A) while Jesper Bratt finished with three assists, while Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Toffoli and Luke Hughes tallied power-play goals. Kyle Palmieri finished the night with two assists for the Islanders.

With the loss, the Islanders drop to 2-1-0 on the season and conclude their season-opening three game homestand by taking five of a possible six points.

Recap: Devils at Islanders 10.20.23


Special teams was the story of Friday’s loss for the Islanders, giving up four power-play goals to a red-hot Devils power play.

It was an uncharacteristic night for a usually stingy penalty kill, which finished ninth overall in the NHL last season and was perfect in the early stages of this season. How uncharacteristic? Friday marked the first time since March 1, 2014 they’d given up four goals, coincidentally against New Jersey.

“We made a couple of mistakes, which are going to happen,” Ryan Pulock said. “We made a couple of mistakes and they ended up scoring on. I don't think it's something we need to make a big change on, it's just something we're going to look at and clean up a little bit.”

The power-play goals came in all shapes and sizes. Dougie Hamilton stepped all the way into a slap shot that tied the score 1-1 with a minute to play in the first period. Casey Cizikas took a penalty off a face-off at the end of the first, which put New Jersey on the man advantage to start the middle frame and ultimately led to a Tyler Toffoli wrister high past Sorokin 21 seconds in. The two power-play goals 1:21 apart should have hammered home the message, but the Isles found themselves down a man just over two minutes later due to a puck over the glass, which resulted in a Luke Hughes power-play tally as the defenseman put a shot through a screen. Tied 3-3, Jack Hughes capped the four-goal night for the Devils power-play unit, tapping in a backdoor feed off some pretty passing at 4:30 of the third period.

“I don't know if it was one thing that led to all the success,” Nelson said. “They capitalize on a couple plays and were able to find the guys open space and the capitalize and that was difference.”

To underscore how good New Jersey’s power play has been this season, consider nine of their 15 goals have come with a man advantage. The Isles players acknowledged the off night for what it was, but maintained their faith in the group.

“Everyone has the confidence and the trust of those guys,” Nelson said. “They're going to go out there, they work extremely hard and they’re going to get the job done most nights. Some nights it may not go your way and tonight was one of them.”

While it was an off night for the Isles power play, the Isles outscored the Devils 4-1 at even strength, though that one came in overtime, as Hughes delivered the dagger at the 2:19 mark.

“If we stayed out of the box tonight, it could have been a different story,” Horvat said.

NJD@NYI: Horvat scores goal against Devils


While special teams were the difference, the Islanders proved they could keep up in a track meet with the high-flying Devils at even strength.

Brock Nelson and Bo Horvat scored two goals apiece for the Isles, with Nelson netting the opening two, while Horvat scoring the latter pair.

Nelson was in mid-month form on Friday night, as the center opened the scoring at 12:35 of the first period, snapping a shot low-glove through Akira Schmid. He later helped the Islanders keep pace in what became a rowdy, back-and-forth second period, throwing a changeup through Schmid’s legs to tie the game 2-2 at the 1:37 mark.

The goals were Nelson’s 34th and 35th career October goals respectively, upping his Brock-tober totals to 35 goals and 71 points in 90 October games.

Kyle Palmieri picked up assists on both Nelson goals, with Pierre Engvall getting in on the action on Nelson’s first. Nelson nearly had a hat trick six-and-a-half minutes into the third period, and while his wrister squeaked through Schmid, it trickled just wide of the net.

As for Horvat, he recorded his first two-goal game as an Islander. He buried a sharp-angle shot after Noah Dobson froze the Devils with a fake shot before dishing to the center down low at 6:10 of the second period to tie the score at threes.

Down 4-3, Horvat tied the score with 1:11 to play, scooping up some loose change at the side of the net and banking a sharp-angled shot off some bodies and in.  

“I'm proud of the way our group responded,” Horvat said. “Obviously to get a point out of that is definitely huge, but I think our execution was a little off tonight. Happy to get that point and we're going to have a big game here coming up tomorrow.”

Ilya Sorokin with a Spectacular Goalie Save from New York Islanders vs. New Jersey Devils


While Sorokin was saddled with the loss and five goals against, no writing on Friday’s game would be complete without acknowledging some of the spectacular saves by the Islanders netminder.

Sorokin went toe-to-toe with Devils forward Jack Hughes, outwaiting shifty stickhandler at the top of the crease before flashing the glove and drawing ohs and ahs from the UBS Arena crowd, though Hughes ultimately had the last laugh in overtime.

The save on Hughes, who led the Devils with 99 points last season, was the runaway winner on the night, but Sorokin also came up with improbable stops on Jesper Bratt and later Nathan Bastian. Bratt admittedly shot the puck at Sorokin’s pad instead of a gaping net after the puck pinballed to him in the slot, but the Bastian save was pure Sorokin athleticism, as he shot across his crease, fully extending his left pad to keep the game 3-3 late in the second. Sorokin later told the media he didn’t even see Bastian’s shot.

Ilya Sorokin with a Spectacular Goalie Save from New York Islanders vs. New Jersey Devils

“It's kind of a broken record in terms of how good we say he is but he goes out there he proves it proves it every night,” Nelson said. “He’s a gamer and all those saves give us a chance to win which is huge for our group and he was the best player.”

It was the polar opposite of Tuesday’s sleepy 1-0 win, where the Islanders netminder made a 14-save shutout. Sorokin stopped 34 of 39 shots – 29 of 30 at even strength – and was a big reason the Islanders were able to get a point, but that was little consolation for the Isles netminder.


The Islanders are back in action on Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.

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