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Devils lose 13th shootout in possible Brodeur farewell

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur, in what could be his last start for the New Jersey Devils, allowed shootout goals to Frans Nielsen, Josh Bailey and Ryan Strome, and the New York Islanders won 3-2 Friday at Prudential Center.

The Devils close the regular season Sunday at home against the Boston Bruins. New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer said he would like to see Brodeur start the finale but he needs to discuss it with the veteran goalie.

"I haven't received any word yet," Brodeur said. "We'll practice [Saturday] and know."

Brodeur, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, has expressed a desire to play for a team that will assure him more games. Friday was his 38th; Cory Schneider has played in 45.

"I thought [Brodeur] played very well," DeBoer said. "He gave us a chance to get to the shootout, particularly in the overtime."

Brodeur made 28 saves, including eight in the third period and four in overtime, but the Devils dropped to 0-13 in shootouts this season while extending their NHL-record losing streak to 17. The Devils, who are 4-for-45 in the tiebreaker, last celebrated a shootout victory March 15, 2013, at the Philadelphia Flyers.

"It's tough," DeBoer said. "We've lost two of our last 12 in regulation and unfortunately we walk out of the rink 5-2-5. If we win those five shootouts, we're 10-2 and you should be feeling a lot better about yourselves. I feel for our group because we shouldn't feel as badly as we do."

Ryan Carter, who scored in the first period to pull the Devils into a 1-1 tie, said Brodeur was on top of his game.

"He's always been good for us," Carter said. "We allowed the team to hang around. He played well for us, gave us a chance, but we couldn't close the game out."

Nielsen scored on Brodeur to open the shootout before New Jersey's Damien Brunner connected against New York goalie Anders Nilsson.

"I [was] kind of guessing [Brodeur] was guessing a little bit," Nielsen said. "I just shot it quick."

Bailey then scored on a spin-o-rama before Jaromir Jagr missed his attempt in the second round. Strome won the game on another spin-o-rama. Brodeur is 0-5 in shootouts this season and has allowed eight goals on 16 attempts.

"I don't remember guys doing [spin-o-ramas] on me before," Brodeur said. "I got a taste of both sides too, so I know now; both guys did it on each side of the net and it was tough. You can only try as goalie. Guys are coming in and they decide to stop and you try and keep your ground. On both, I had my pad there but they are in no rush, no time limit.

"That's what Bailey did. He took an extra second to make sure he was going to raise it because he was not challenged by anything. That makes it harder on goalies, especially when guys make a move."

Brodeur stopped Brock Nelson with his right pad and blocker on a breakaway 1:24 into overtime and snared a slap shot by Bailey at 3:18 during a 4-on-3 power play for the Islanders with Jon Merrill in the box for tripping.

Patrik Elias also scored for New Jersey (34-29-18). Anders Lee and Strome each had a goal for the Islanders (33-37-11).

Strome tied it 2-2 with a power-play goal 19 seconds into the third period. After collecting a pass from Nielsen, Strome used Devils defenseman Andy Greene as a screen at the right hash before taking a wrist shot that beat Brodeur high on the short side for his seventh of the season.

Nilsson, who finished with 25 saves, denied Jagr and Dainius Zubrus from in close with seven minutes left and the game tied 2-2.

Brodeur stopped 13 shots in the second period when the Islanders turned on the heat following a lackluster first. The likely Hall of Fame goalie was checked by a teammate with 1:12 left in the second when Islanders forward John Persson knocked Zubrus into Brodeur during a rush. After a few minutes and following several chants of "Marty! Marty!" the 41-year-old was back on his feet.

"His pants hit my head pretty hard," Brodeur said.

Brodeur denied defenseman Matt Donovan on a shot from the top of the right circle with 3.3 seconds remaining and the Islanders on a power play in the second period.

New York led 1-0 before Carter and Elias scored to give New Jersey the lead. The Devils outshot the Islanders 13-4 in the first period.

"I thought we should have come out of the first with three of four goals but that's been a common theme all year," DeBoer said. "We're not stepping on the other team's proverbial throat, so to speak, when we get a chance. But [the Islanders] outskated us as the game wore on in stretches of second and third."

Elias broke the 1-1 tie with 8.3 seconds remaining when he shot between the circles after getting a pass from Travis Zajac. Elias used Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic as a screen for his 18th of the season.

Carter pulled the Devils into the tie when he jammed home an attempt from the slot at 11:03 after getting a feed from Steve Bernier from behind the cage.

The Islanders opened a 1-0 lead 59 seconds earlier when Lee took a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Brodeur to the long side underneath his right arm. It was Lee's first goal in 13 games.

The Islanders visit the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday in their regular-season finale.

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