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Late goal by Cizikas helps Islanders edge Devils

by John Kreiser /

NEW YORK -- New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas feels the fourth line's job is to create havoc. Scoring goals is a bonus.

On Tuesday, he and his linemates they did both.

Cizikas scored with 2:12 remaining to give the Islanders a 2-1 win against the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center.

Devils goaltender Cory Schneider stopped a left-point wrist shot by defenseman Brian Strait that was deflected by Matt Martin. But Cizikas fought for position in front of Schneider and put home the rebound for his second goal of the season.

"We came off a good shift down low," Cizikas said. "Brian got the shot through, Marty made an unbelievable tip and I was able to get there on the rebound."

Jaroslav Halak made 23 saves for the Islanders (7-3-3), who ended a three-game losing streak. New York played its third consecutive game without captain John Tavares because of flu-like symptoms.

"That was a huge win for us," Cizikas said. "We knew what we had to accomplish, and that was to play a full 60 minutes."

Schneider made 32 saves for New Jersey (6-5-1). The Devils had won six of their previous seven games and four in a row on the road.

"We could have easily had a point and probably could have found a way to get two," Schneider said. "It's tough to give one away like that."

Devils coach John Hynes was unhappy to leave Brooklyn empty-handed.

"We just got beat in front of the net," he said of Cizikas' game-winner. "We were in a tight game and we couldn't make enough plays at the end to get two points."

The line of Cizikas, Martin and Cal Clutterbuck helped the Islanders pile up 63 hits, the most by one team in a game this season.

"They give us great energy, and they know their role," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "They're not going to make the sexy play all the time; they're going to chip pucks in and grind it out. They're also going to give us big goals, timely goals. Our other lines need to feed off that."

Brock Nelson scored a first-period goal for the Islanders. New Jersey's Travis Zajac tied it with a power-play goal early in the third.

New York opened the scoring 7:23 into the first period. Defenseman Marek Zidlicky's left-point slap shot was denied by Schneider, who also made a save on Nelson's rebound try. But the puck hit the skate of Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas and was knocked into the net by Schneider, giving Nelson his third goal of the season.

"The guys who are scoring goals are the guys who are going to those gritty areas," Capuano said. "The goaltenders are too good; you're not going to score from the perimeter against them. It's going to be a shot off the pads or a rebound or a greasy play around the front of the net."

Schneider kept the Devils' deficit at one goal when he robbed Josh Bailey from point-blank range with 47.8 seconds left in the period.

Halak preserved the Islanders' lead 2:30 into the second period when he stopped Adam Henrique on a rebound try after making a save against Kyle Palmieri during New Jersey's first power play of the game. He denied Stephen Gionta midway through the period when Gionta tried to jam home a loose puck in the crease.

The Islanders killed off two more New Jersey power plays in the period, extending their streak of consecutive penalty kills to 29, dating to Oct. 12. But with Strait off for slashing, the Devils tied it at 4:03 of the third when Zajac scored his fifth of the season, lifting a rebound over Halak. Four of Zajac's five goals have come on the power play.

"We changed the breakout and we knew we had to work for a goal," Zajac said. "A couple shots softened [them] up and the rebound found [me]."

The Islanders debuted their Brooklyn-themed black third jerseys; they will wear them for 12 of their 41 home games.

"I like them; we look meaner," Martin said with a laugh. "I love our classic jerseys, but this is a nice jersey as well. This is a nice change and makes us look pretty big."

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