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ISLANDERS 2, DEVILS 0

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
For the third straight game, Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro was solid between the pipes, making 29 saves in the Islanders 2-0 win over the New Jersey Devils at Nassau Coliseum.


“Ricky’s played extremely well since I’ve been here,” said Islanders interim head coach Jack Capuano. “He’s done real well in practice, and it’s carried over in the last few games that he’s played.”

The win was also Capuano’s first win as a head coach in the National Hockey League.

“You know what, I’m just happy for the guys,” Capuano said. “I thought we played extremely well in Atlanta and (against) Columbus, and we didn’t get rewarded the point. It’s a good feeling for the boys.”

Travis Zajac #19 of the New Jersey Devils is denied by goaltender Rick DiPietro #39 of the New York Islanders on November 26, 2010 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. Islanders defeat the Devils 2-0. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
The highlight of the game was a 5:02 penalty kill in the third period. First Dylan Reese went to the penalty box for interference at 10:04 and then James Wisniewski went to the box to serve a double minor for high sticking just 1:02 later. After the initial kill, the Islanders killed 58 seconds of 5-on-3 play and then killed the remaining 3:02 while 5-on-4.

“We got in a tough situation there with the 5-on-3 and a four minute penalty, but we did a great job of penalty killing, and I feel like it’s done a good job all year for us,” said Islanders forward Blake Comeau. “That was a big, key time in the game for us.”

The Islanders were able to clear their defensive zone three times on that kill.

“It was huge,” DiPietro said about the penalty kill. “It is kills like that that can turn a whole season around. I could feel the energy in the building and the energy on the bench. I think that’s a big thing for us. Our team feeds off energy. Through out the streak when things went bad, we went through a little bit of a funk and our heads were down and it was tough to come out of that. Today we fed off the crowd and each other and we had a pretty good game.”

When forward Jesse Joensuu scored at 1:32 of the first, little did anyone know that he would be netting the Islanders game winning goal, the same goal that would give the Islanders their first win in November.

Mark Fayne #34 of the New Jersey Devils and Jesse Joensuu #58 of the New York Islanders battle for the puck on November 26, 2010 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
“I actually lost the puck in the neutral zone there,” Joensuu said. “I got it back and gave it to Martinek. He gave it to Grabner and I just thought about skating to the net. Then Grabner gave it to Frans  and I saw that I was wide open and I called for it. It was a great play. I think it went through the D-man’s legs.”

Islanders center Rob Schremp also scored for the Islanders when he roofed it over Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg’s right shoulder (18 saves) at 5:15 of the second period. Comeau did a great job to set up the play when he skated along the left boards, rocketing the puck through the crease to Schremp on the goal line.

“I went over some video with our assistant coach yesterday, and he just wanted me to get back to the physical game; holding onto the puck, have some poise,” Comeau said. “I tried to come down the wall with speed and I saw Schrempy back door and I got it to him and he made a great shot.”

Besides Joensuu’s game-winning goal, the first period was marked by 17 minutes of penalties (two minutes for instigating, five minutes for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct) delivered to one of the most improbable players on the Islanders bench. Defenseman Bruno Gervais retaliated against Colin White when he didn’t like White’s check on PA Parenteau into the boards. Gervais was able to get in one punch before falling to White.

Undoubtedly, the Islanders were happy to get their first win after a 14 game winless streak, but after recording a shutout on Friday afternoon against their Division rivals, they are hoping to start their own winning streak.

“We can’t be satisfied with just one win,” Comeau said. “We can’t act like we’ve won 14 in a row. We have to realize what got us success tonight. I thought maybe we had a little bit of a sloppy third, but coming out strong and playing a good two periods got us the win. Moving forward we’ve got to play three hard periods.”

Islanders forward John Tavares added, “You have to go into every game expecting to win, to compete at your highest level, and give ourselves a chance. We have obviously been in this tough stretch and it’s nice to be out of it. Hopefully we can get (a streak) going the other way.”
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