The Islanders suffered another tough preseason loss at the hands of the Devils, going down 4-3 at the Prudential Center.
“I think we had some struggles with the puck coming out of our zone. I thought we got better in the offensive zone as the game went on,” said Islanders head coach Scott Gordon. “I thought that we had some good looks in the offensive zone on the power play.
“Penalty killing was, obviously the first one was pretty good,” Gordon continued. “We lost the faceoff and they scored right off it, so the second one we didn’t get much of an opportunity to show anything. We had some guys that need to be better.”
Even though Gordon thought the Islanders struggled a little bit, the first period started off well, with Jesse Joensuu
netting the Islanders first goal at 1:38 after a rush down ice and a pass from Islanders captain Doug Weight. Unfortunately the momentum from the early lead didn’t last and the Islanders had trouble taking advantage of their chances.
Coach Gordon thought the Isles captain, coming back from a shoulder injury which required surgery in the off season had a pretty good game. “I thought Dougie (Doug Weight) played well in his first game back, which was obviously encouraging,” Gordon said.
Gordon added, “It was good to see Dougie (Weight) get in there and play like himself. He made some nice plays.”
A few minutes later (5:05 of the first), Devils centerman Jason Arnott scored with a one-timer off a pass from Andy Greene, going over Roloson’s left shoulder to tie up the game. The Islanders then got a little special teams practice earning both a power play and penalty kill, but at 14:14 Zach Parise scored an even strength goal giving the Devils the 2-1 lead.
In the second period, the Islanders entered their second penalty kill of the game when they were called for too many men on the ice at 7:36. Just as Trevor Gillies
went to the box to serve the penalty, the Devils Brian Rolston tallied their third goal of the game right off the faceoff at 7:44.
A few minutes later, the Devils tallied their fourth goal of the game (12:14) when Jason Arnott got his second goal past Dwayne Roloson. The assist going to Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Islanders finally were able to capitalize on their third power play opportunity of the game after keeping the puck in the Devils zone for the majority of the man advantage when Jamie Langenbrunner went to the box for roughing at 12:51.
And at the tail end of the power play (14:28), Islanders forward Matt Moulson
scored his first goal of the preseason and the Islanders second goal of the game after completing a special teams rotation in front of the net, receiving a pass from Doug Weight, which was set up by Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan
“Actually, I thought (Moulson) played well,” said Gordon. “I thought those guys (Moulson and Nielsen) for the most part had a pretty good game.”
Even though the Islanders lost, it was a great night for Moulson as he scored his second goal of the game at 11:18 of the third period, closing the gap with the Devils 4-3. Dean McAmmond (on professional tryout) laid out a pass from inside the faceoff circle to Moulson who took the shot out front of Brodeur, igniting a fire underneath the Islanders in the final minutes of the game.
With just 1:07 left on the clock, Gordon called a timeout, pulling Roloson from the net so the Islanders would have a 6-on-5 advantage for the final minute of play. Although the Islanders weren’t able to put a puck in the back of the net, they sure gave everything they had trying to tie it up.
Moulson, who was happy to finally to put a few goals in the net said, “I hope I score two goals every game for the whole season. That would be a lot of goals and hopefully transpire in to a lot of wins, but I think personally I have a lot to prove to a lot of people this year. So I think no matter what it is, a scrimmage, preseason, I want to score goals and I want to win.”
The Islanders will have their chance tomorrow night when they end their home-and-home with the Devils on the Coliseum ice. Faceoff is at 7 p.m.