Skip to Main Content

Isles deny Devils' bid for 1st-place tie in Atlantic

by Brian Compton

UNIONDALE , N.Y. -- The New Jersey Devils will have to wait if they plan on catching the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Atlantic Division.
With a chance to move into a first-place tie on Saturday night, the Devils came up short asYann Danis was outplayed byDwayne Roloson in a 4-2 loss to theNew York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
New Jersey (40-24-3) was also denied its first three-game winning streak since late December as it returns home to face the Boston Bruins on Monday night. Pittsburgh can move four points ahead with a win at TampaBay on Sunday.

"We didn't work well, but we worked hard," Devils coach Jacques Lemaire said. "Our power play has to get better. We have to make better decisions with the puck. We're shooting when it's time to pass. It's a matter of making the right play. We've got to work together."
The Islanders (27-32-9), who found out in the morning that captain Doug Weight would be out for the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury, put forth a solid effort in front of the 15,583 who braved the horrid weather conditions. Roloson made 38 saves in the victory, his first against the Devils in nine tries (1-6-2).
The Devils needed only 2:52 to get on the scoreboard, as Mike Mottau beat Roloson on what seemed to be a harmless wrist shot from the right point. It was the stay-at-home defenseman's second goal of the season -- both have come against the Islanders.
Freddy Meyer tied the game with 2:37 left in the first period. With the teams at full strength,Josh Bailey carried the puck into the Devils' zone and sent a cross-ice feed toTim Jackman, who quickly fired a wrist shot that was denied by Danis. But Meyer followed the play and poked the rebound past Danis for his third goal of the season.

"We were controlling the play and then for whatever reasons, the last four minutes we quit playing," Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. "They got momentum and got some confidence. It took us until the third period to get back in control. We played a good third, but too little, too late."
Jon Sim broke a 1-1 tie with 8:01 remaining in the second period. Not long after the Isles failed to convert on their second power play of the game, Sim trailed Richard Park into the Devils' zone and ripped a wrister from the slot past Danis for his 10th goal of the season.

Mark Streit doubled the Isles' lead at 11:59 of the second on a power-play tally. Just nine seconds afterIlya Kovalchuk went for high sticking, Streit took a pass fromFrans Nielsen and fired a slap shot from the left point past a screened Danis to make it 3-1. It was his 10th goal of the season.

"We had kind of a slow start," Streit said. "They had lots of energy. It took us a while to get going. I don't know why that happened. Rollie kept us in the game, and that made a big difference for us."
Kovalchuk got the Devils within one at 1:41 of the third period on his 36th goal of the season. Kovalchuk, slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, took a drop pass from Dean McAmmond and fired a laser past Roloson to make it 3-2.
But Sean Bergenheim put the Isles back up by a pair when he scored shorthanded with 8:27 left. After defenseman Dylan Reese received a four-minute high-sticking penalty, Bergenheim found some open space, and took a pass from Blake Comeau and ripped a wrister that went off McAmmond and trickled over the line to make it 4-2. It was Bergenheim's sixth goal of the season.

"That's a problem," Lemaire said of his power play, which went 0-for-3 in addition to coughing up the shorthanded goal. "We were coming along very well. I felt that we were going to come back. We get this power play and get a goal against, and that's it."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter at: @BComptonNHL

View More