Skip to main content

Comeau lifts Isles over Devils in preseason finale

NHL.com @NHL

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Blake Comeau's second-period goal snapped a tie and lifted a split-squad of New York Islanders to a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night in the preseason finale for both teams.

After New York's Josh Bailey and New Jersey's Zach Parise traded first-period goals, Comeau converted a pass from John Tavares into the go-ahead tally with 2:35 left in the middle period.

The Islanders salvaged their first win of the preseason (1-3) and earned a split of the home-and-home series with the Devils (2-1-3), who earned a 4-3 victory in New Jersey on Friday night. The other half of New York's roster faced the Montreal Canadiens in Quebec on Saturday night.

Rick DiPietro, trying to make yet another comeback from a serious knee injury, went the distance for the Islanders and stopped 25 shots - including a sprawling stick save against Rod Pelley in the final seconds of the second period.

Johan Hedberg also played the whole game for New Jersey, giving No. 1 goalie Martin Brodeur the night off, and made 21 saves.

Islanders 39-year-old captain Doug Weight, limited to 36 games last season because of injury, looked spry in an eventful first period. After nearly setting up a goal in the opening minute and being denied on a break by Hedberg soon after, Weight finally found his way onto the score sheet.

Showing off the passing skills he used to post multiple 50-point seasons in his younger days, Weight made a spin move at the left post and zipped a pass across the crease to Bailey, who on his 21st birthday slammed in his first goal of the preseason at 5:47.

Weight had another scoring chance in the closing moments of the first, but Hedberg turned it aside.

Ilya Kovalchuk propelled New Jersey's offense in the first, starting with a penalty shot with 6:41 left in the period and then with the primary assist on Parise's third goal in four preseason games.

Kovalchuk was awarded a penalty shot and appeared to have DiPietro beaten when he streaked to the left and around the prone goalie, who tried to disrupt the play with a sprawling poke check in front. Kovalchuk got past DiPietro, but his backhanded shot toward the net struck the left post and stayed out.

However, he was right on target moments later. Kovalchuk fed a perfect left-to-right pass inside the Islanders zone to Parise, who got behind DiPietro and fired a shot into the open right side of the net from a sharp angle to tie it 1-1 with 6:54 remaining in the first.

NOTES: The Devils assigned RW Nick Palmieri to Albany of the AHL. ... The Islanders placed D Dustin Kohn on waivers, assigned LW Robin Figren, G Kevin Poulin, D Anton Klementyev and C Tony Romano to Bridgeport of the AHL, and released G Joel Martin from his professional tryout.

View More