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game recap

Subban scores, Devils hang on against Islanders for third win in row

Hischier unassisted goal early in third breaks tie; New Jersey 4-0-1 in past five

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Subban hammers one-timer home

NJD@NYI: Subban unloads wicked one-timer off the draw

After a Travis Zajac faceoff win, Nikita Gusev slides the puck to P.K. Subban, who rockets in a one-timer from the point to tie the game at 1

  • 00:36 •

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Nico Hischier scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period for the New Jersey Devils in a 2-1 win against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday.

P.K. Subban scored for New Jersey (15-19-6), which won its third game in a row despite playing without rookie center Jack Hughes because of an upper-body injury. The Devils are 4-0-1 in their past five and 6-2-1 in their past nine.

"You can tell the guys are out there making plays, skating, being tenacious on the forecheck, defending the right way," said New Jersey's Mackenzie Blackwood, who made 10 of his 29 saves in the third period. "But you can also see they're not scared to make plays. They bought in and they're blocking shots that are huge and committing in the D zone. It's just a great, all-around team game out there."

 

[WATCH: All Devils vs. Islanders highlights]

 

Brock Nelson scored for New York (25-11-3), which has lost its past four home games (0-3-1), all at Nassau Coliseum. Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves.

"We've lost four games here in this building, and really [against] nonplayoff teams," coach Barry Trotz said. "There's not any bad teams in the National Hockey League; this team's playing very well right now, they're playing free. They got the elephant out of the room with the [Taylor] Hall trade (to the Arizona Coyotes). They're getting really good goaltending; I thought Blackwood was excellent for them, I thought Varlamov was excellent for us.

"We haven't found the back of the net. We've got to score more than a goal. If we have to win that way, we'll have to do it, but we had some chances early, we didn't bury it, and they hung around and around. I think we didn't really take it to the next level unfortunately, but it's on us."

Hischier scored the game-winner unassisted at 1:09 of the third. He won a face-off in the right circle of the Islanders zone against Nelson, powered his way around the New York center, and stuffed a shot past Varlamov to give New Jersey a 2-1 lead.

Video: NJD@NYI: Hischier drives, extends for goal in front

The goal extended Hischier's point streak to four games (three goals, three assists).

"We're skating and we're playing with confidence, that's a big thing too," Hischier said. "We're making plays if they're there. From one guy to the last guy, everybody digs in. Everybody wants to climb the standings. We're really playing good hockey right now."

Nelson gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 7:33 of the second period when he scored at 4-on-4 with a wrist shot from the right circle that went between Devils defenseman Andy Greene's legs and past Blackwood.

Subban tied it 1-1 with 1:27 remaining in the second on a one-timer from the right point after a face-off win by Travis Zajac, who tied Kirk Muller for third in New Jersey history with his 520th assist.

Islanders forward Leo Komarov scored 39 seconds into the second, but Devils coach Alain Nasreddine challenged, and the goal was disallowed after video review because Komarov interfered with Blackwood.

"I was pushing out to it, and then the next thing you know I was almost inside my net," Blackwood said. "I didn't put myself there, so I figured [it would get overturned]. I'm pretty sure I saw their player right in front of my eyes, so I was pretty confident that he had bumped me."

Video: NJD@NYI: Nelson roofs wrist shot from left circle

 

They said it

"We've been able to close out games lately, we've come back from behind in a few games. I think once you start doing that, guys are more confident. We stick with the game plan, even in the third. This was a gritty game; not a whole lot of space out there. Guys know what they need to do, whether it's puck decisions or decisions away from the puck. We seem to be [making] all the right decisions right now." -- Devils coach Alain Nasreddine

"We've talked about it and addressed it before today, so it's disappointing coming out and losing another one. With how tight the standings are up at the top, it hurts to give these points away and we did it a few times before the (Christmas) break too, so we need to find a way now to respond. But when we do play here at the [Coliseum], we've got to take advantage of it." -- Islanders center Brock Nelson

 

Need to know

Hughes participated briefly at the morning skate and is day to day. ... It was Subban's fourth goal of the season and second in the past five games. ... New Jersey forward Nikita Gusev had an assist on Subban's goal to extend his point streak to five games (two goals, five assists). ... Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen's point streak ended at five games (seven assists). ... Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (lower-body injury) did not play for the first time since Jan. 12, 2019 (77 games). An update on his condition is expected Friday.

 

What's next

Devils: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, ALT2, NHL.TV)

Islanders: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, CBC, SN360, SNO, SNW, SNP, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Video: Blackwood, Hischier lead Devils to third straight win

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