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Islanders eliminated from playoff race

Bid falls short despite win against Devils

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New York Islanders were eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention despite a 4-2 win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Saturday.

The Toronto Maple Leafs won 5-3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins later Saturday to eliminate the Islanders.

Anders Lee scored two goals, and Jaroslav Halak made 37 saves for the Islanders (40-29-12), who failed in their bid to qualify for the playoffs for a third straight season.

Adam Pelech and Jason Chimera scored for the Islanders, who have won five straight with Halak as their starting goalie. Halak is 6-1-0 in seven games since being recalled from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League on March 23.

 

WATCH: All Islanders vs. Devils highlights

 

"[Halak] has been excellent; the numbers, his attitude, visually in the net," Islanders coach Doug Weight said. "His confidence has run through the team. And Anders Lee has been an absolute beast in all parts of the game, scoring big goals."

Beau Bennett scored twice, and Keith Kinkaid made 16 saves for the Devils (28-39-14), who will finish last in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 1985-86. The Devils outshot the Islanders 39-20.

Halak is 11-4-2 in 19 games against the Devils.

"We didn't deserve to win but found away and I'm proud of the guys," Weight said.

Video: NYI@NJD: Lee tips home Leddy's point shot

Chimera scored 3:52 into the third period to give the Islanders a 3-0 lead. Bennett scored 1:08 later when his shot from the left circle got behind Halak, who then inadvertently kicked the puck over the goal line to make it 3-1.

Lee's power-play goal 8:11 into the third off a backhand gave the Islanders a 4-1 lead.

"I just think a lot of guys have really stepped up in the absence of [John Tavares]," Lee said of the Islanders captain, who sustained a lower-body injury on March 31. "We've all stuck together and had a good focus. We want to close it out the best we can, and we've done that so far. I think guys have all been leaders in this room. We're going out every night and trying to make things happen."

Bennett scored with 2.2 seconds remaining.

Pelech and Lee scored in the second period to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead. Pelech scored off a wrist shot at 2:48 and Lee deflected a shot from the left point by Nick Leddy at 6:23.

Video: NYI@NJD: Elias, family drop ceremonial first puck

 

Goal of the game

Lee's second goal of the game off a power move at the bottom of the left circle gave the Islanders a 4-1 lead.

Video: NYI@NJD: Lee flips in PPG for second of the game

 

Save of the game

With the Islanders holding a 2-0 lead, Halak stopped Kyle Palmieri on a breakaway 6:56 into the second period.

 

Highlight of the game

Islanders center Alan Quine did much of the work on Chimera's 19th goal of the season. After chipping the puck out, Quine skated into the Devils zone and spun away from Andy Greene before backhanding a pass to Chimera down the slot. 

"I saw [Quine] looking for me and he made a really good pass," Chimera said. "Quine made the play happen; I just had to finish it."

Video: NYI@NJD: Chimera finishes Quine's silky dish

 

Unsung performances of the game

Islanders defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Adam Pelech had seven hits apiece and combined for four blocked shots. 

 

They said it

"We know the team we have and we've been battling since mid-December and turned things around and it's been a long road. Obviously we had to rely on other teams to make it happen, but I don't think there's a guy in this locker room that doesn't believe we're a playoff team. That's why we've really played extremely well the last five games." -- Islanders left wing Anders Lee

 

"We had our opportunities. Halak has our number. He's been playing well since he has been back up here and has definitely been a key for their team." -- Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid

 

Need to know

Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin returned to the lineup after missing seven games because of an upper-body injury. ... Former Devils forward Patrik Elias, who announced his retirement on March 31, participated in warmups. Elias played 20 seasons in the NHL, all with the Devils.

 

What's next

Islanders: Host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday (5 p.m. ET; MSG+, RDS2, TSN5, NHL.TV)

Devils: At the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; SN1, FS-D, MSG+ 2, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Lee tallies twice as Islanders top Devils, 4-2

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