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Devils break through to beat Islanders

by Brian Compton
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New Jersey Devils finally found a way to beat the New York Islanders in their barn.

Bryce Salvador's wrist shot from the left point beat Rick DiPietro with 6:49 remaining in the third period as the Devils earned a 4-2 win in front of a capacity crowd of 16,250 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.

The Devils had been shut out in this rink just five days earlier in a 4-0 loss and hadn't won on Long Island since their 3-1 victory on Jan. 17, 2009. New Jersey also snapped the Isles' six-game winning streak on home ice.

Martin Brodeur made 20 saves and Zach Parise scored twice for the Devils, who outshot the Islanders 14-3 in the third period after being outshot 14-1 in the second. Brodeur was on the losing end of a 3-1 decision against Montreal in New Jersey on Friday. Parise added an empty-net goal with 45.1 seconds left.

"It was a big game," Brodeur said. "I thought the guys worked extremely hard, especially in the third. We created a lot of chances and we didn't give up much at all."

Salvador's soft wrister appeared to have hit something or somebody on its way to the net, but the Devils' defenseman could care less. The two points in the standings are what mattered most in his dressing room.

"I think it was a 150 miles an hour … blast to the top corner," Salvador joked after scoring the first goal by a Devils' blueliner in 2010. "I don't think he saw it. I don't know. I just wanted to throw it to the net, and hopefully something was going to happen there, and it went in."

"It came through the screen and snuck through me," DiPietro said. "It's kind of the way the third period went."

The Islanders nearly scored in the first three minutes of the game, as Kyle Okposo made a fabulous cross-ice feed to Mark Streit, but the Isles' defenseman's redirection hit the goal post. Moments later, Jamie Langenbrunner had a golden opportunity at the other end of the ice, but his wrister was blocked by a diving Okposo.

But Langenbrunner wouldn't be denied a second time, as he was left all alone in the slot and one-timed Travis Zajac's feed past DiPietro as the Devils grabbed a 1-0 lead at 5:52 of the opening period. It was Langenbrunner's 14th goal of the season. New Jersey outshot the Isles 13-5 in the first.

The Islanders capitalized on a major boarding penalty against Devils defenseman Colin White, as Okposo and Jack Hillen both scored on the power play to give New York a 2-1 lead. Just 19 seconds after White -- who was also tossed from the game -- drilled Sean Bergenheim into the boards from behind, Okposo one-timed a feed from John Tavares past Brodeur at 9:34 of the second period. Hillen put the Isles in front 2:02 later when his shot from the slot trickled over the goal line for his second tally of the season.

Parise tied the game for New Jersey on its only shot of the period, which came with 32 seconds remaining. With Bruno Gervais in the box for hooking, Parise sent a pass from the left boards that was intended for Andy Greene, but it went off the skate of Isles' defenseman Freddy Meyer and past DiPietro to make it 2-2. Parise was credited with his 22nd goal of the season.

"I saw Greener coming down the far side, and I thought (Nick) Palmieri put it in," Parise said. "Me and Jamie asked him if he wanted the puck because we thought he put it in, and he said he didn't. It was nice to get a bounce in our favor."

The second period also included a shorthanded breakaway attempt for Dean McAmmond. The veteran forward, however, backhanded it wide of the net.

"We didn't change anything," Salvador said when asked what his team did differently in the third period. "We just stayed focused in here. We had a chance to win this one."

The Devils certainly took full advantage, as the Isles failed to generate any quality chances in the third period despite the fact that New Jersey was playing without White, one of its top defensemen.

"We stopped pushing the pace," Isles coach Scott Gordon said. "We didn't take advantage of the fact that they played (Friday) night."

Brodeur got the start after backup Yann Danis came down with an illness following Friday's game against the Canadiens. It is believed a healthy Danis -- who appeared in 31 games for the Islanders last season -- would have gotten the nod against his former team. Either way, the Devils were just happy to finally earn a victory on Long Island.

"It doesn't matter where you are, it's always nice to get a win," Parise said. "I don't think anyone knew we hadn't won here in a year. They're playing well, though. You've got to give them credit. They're playing good hockey, and we had to be a good team to beat them."

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