Islanders 2, Devils 1 (Final/SO)
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For the third time this season, the Islanders and Devils needed a shootout to settle things, and once again, Miro Satan and Trent Hunter were the difference, helping the home team to a three-game winning streak at the Coliseum.
The action got started not when a puck entered the net, but when John Erskine did, sent there by a check from Cam Janssen. The Islanders defenseman got to his feet and answered back, starting a dust-up that Janssen took with a few big overhand blows. As a result of Erskine being the instigator, the Devils received a powerplay, but the Islanders were able to kill it off, a feat they repeated twice more in the period.
The Islanders' penalty kill was once again called on early in the second period, but this time the Devils were able to dent the defense. Playing up a man, Sean Brown moved the puck across the Isles' blueline to Jamie Langenbrunner who put a hard shot on goal that beat Rick DiPietro under his arm to his stick-side. A Devils 5-on-3 followed, but the Islanders were able to keep within a goal of New Jersey.
In the third period, the Islanders were able to even the score, thanks to a crisp two-zone pass by Alexei Zhitnik. Taking the pass just outside of the Devils' zone, Shawn Bates broke in down the boards before tossing a backhand pass over to an on-rushing Mark Parrish, who tucked it under a sprawling Martin Brodeur.
After the teams completed regulation play tied one-all, a tense overtime saw the Islanders kill a 4-on-3 powerplay, the Devils hit a pipe, DiPietro feed a puck through his open crease and Brodeur lose his stick, but there were still only two goals on the board.
The Devils tabbed Viktor Kozlov to start the shootout, and he fired the puck through DiPietro's leg pads for a 1-0 lead. The Islanders countered with Miro Satan, who came in with five goals in seven attempts. Skating in slow and steady, he beat Brodeur five-hole. Brian Gionta deked his way in on DiPietro in round two, but his back-hand attempt was snagged with DiPietro's glove.
Trent Hunter, 4-for-6 this season, bared down on Brodeur, and converted a slick forehand to backhand move into a second Islanders goal. On the other end of the ice, Jamie Langenbrunner tested DiPietro's stick-side, but was turned away, giving the Islanders their seventh shootout win.
OFF THE ICE: Before the game, Radek Martinek signed a two-year contract extension... For the Islanders Brent Sopel (leg), Eric Godard (viral infection) and Petteri Nokelainen (knee) were scratched, while the Devils sat Patrik Elias (ribs), Krisjanis Redlihs (healthy), Darren Langdon (healthy) and Richard Matvichuk (healthy)... No one in tonight's game has played for the other team... All-time, the Islanders hold a dominant 96-54-22-3 lead over New Jersey... After seven games of an eight-game season series, the Isles are up 5-2, having won twice at the Continental, and three times at home.
--additional reporting by Brian Bohl
Mark Parrish on the importance of the team's victory:
"You have to use their style against them and hope to frustrate them. We came up big. To get back in the playoffs, we need to put a good stretch together. We need to bust our hump and get all the points we can."
On his second period goal and the play of Shawn Bates:
"It was a great play by Batesy. I just drove to the net and he fed me a perfect backhand pass in the slot. I was lucky to get it by Brodeur."
Rick DiPietro on sustaining the momentum heading into Friday's game:
"We feel strong with this group of guys. Today we showed we're serious about making the push towards the playoffs."
On the turning point of the game:
"Our penalty kill did a great job. It was big for us when we stopped the 5-on-3 and then the 4-on-3 in overtime."
Miroslav Satan on his approach to the shootout:
"From previous shootouts, I've learned that not thinking about it is the best way to go. I just try to stay relaxed and treat it like practice."
(12) Oleg Kvasha-(79) Alexei Yashin-(45) Arron Asham
(7) Trent Hunter-(16) Mike York-(81) Miroslav Satan
(55) Jason Blake-(17) Shawn Bates-(37) Mark Parrish
(10) Sean Bergenheim-(28) Wyatt Smith-(21) Robert Nilsson
(77) Alexei Zhitnik-(24) Radek Martinek
(14) Chris Campoli-(44) John Erskine
(4) Joel Bouchard-(25) Brad Lukowich
(39) Rick DiPietro
(30) Garth Snow
(9) Zach Parise-(23) Scott Gomez-(14) Brian Gionta
(20) Jay Pandolfo-(11) John Madden-(15) Jamie Langenbrunner
(18) Sergei Brylin-(22) Viktor Kozlov-(29) Grant Marshall
(19) Jason Ryznar-(10) Erik Rasmussen-(25) Cam Janssen
(6) Tommy Albelin-(28) Brian Rafalski
(5) Colin White-(7) Paul Martin
(2) David Hale-(8) Sean Brown
(30) Martin Brodeur
(40) Scott Clemmensen