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Devils squeak by Isles

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
Friday afternoon’s matinee would prove to be a bit deflating as the Islanders came away with their sixth shutout loss of the season, falling 1-0 to the New Jersey Devils at Nassau Coliseum in the first half of a home-and-home.

The Devils took three penalties within the first 10:11, giving the Islanders plenty of opportunity to get on the board first and score a goal on the power play. However, creating chances offensively and spending time in the offensive zone didn’t seem to matter as the Devils kept the puck to the outside and limited the Islanders to just five shots on goal in the first period.

“We had opportunities on the first three power plays right off the bat and we didn’t get many shots to the net,” Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “They probably had more shots on their PK than we had on our power play. We have to get pucks to the net if you want to score goals.”

Michael Grabner lunges for the puck in front of Adam Larsson at Nassau Coliseum on November 25, 2011. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Petr Sykora scored the lone goal of the game on the power play at 14:13 of the second period following up on a shot from Adam Larsson through the high slot.

“You can say what you want about their goal, broken stick, unlucky bounce for us, but it started with a shot and (Petr) Sykora was in the right place and roofed it,” Capuano said.

The Islanders had multiple opportunities to tie the score, including a shorthanded penalty shot for Michael Grabner. He went right and lifted the puck with his backhand, but Johan Hedberg came out from the crease and took away the shot with his positioning.

“The one disappointing thing for me tonight is that we had an opportunity to get pucks and bodies to the net on the odd man rushes and were just a little too cute,” Capuano said. “We played a good team, a good defensive team and we had our chance on the power plays and we had a penalty shot; we didn’t capitalize.”

Al Montoya made 22 saves in the effort, his first game back after returning from the injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

“There are a lot of good things we did, and I think over a period of time, we were the better team, we just couldn’t score,” Islanders Captain Mark Streit said. “We have to keep our heads up and play tomorrow as hard as we did today.”

As the Islanders prepare to head to Newark to complete the second half of their home-and-home with the Devils Saturday afternoon at the Prudential Center, Streit said the Isles need to try harder.

“(We have to) put pucks to the net, get bodies there, get deflections and get a goal off a skate or off a shin pad or whatever it takes, but we need a lot of shots and traffic off the goalie because tomorrow they’re going to play Marty (Brodeur) and we know who he is and how he plays,” Streit said. “So it’s going to be a big thing that we execute.”

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