Uniondale, NY - The New York Islanders (25-32-10) fell to the New Jersey Devils (30-31-4) by the score of 3-2 in hockey action on Sunday afternoon. These two tri-state area teams would need the shootout frame to decide the winner and it would be Brian Rolston netting the game-winning goal.
The winger would finish the night with two goals to help the still streaking Devils to another two points, which will be vital to whatever playoff hopes New Jersey had. New York made a statement on this day though, that indeed they can hang with the elite teams in the NHL, and will be a team to watch for next season.
One could see the importance of this game for both squads, as they both came down and applied defensive pressure not allowing the other good offensive opportunities. Michael Grabner had a good opportunity at the 5:53 mark on a 38 foot wrister, but that shot was denied by Devils keeper Martin Brodeur.
Al Montoya would make a very good save at the 16:58 mark as Anton Volchenkov tried a 49 foot slap shot, which was stoned. Rolston attempted a seven foot wrister about a minute later, but Montoya was up to the task stopping that one as well. The first period would end with the Devils holding a slim 8-4 shots lead over the Islanders.
New Jersey would find the back of the net at the 4:09 mark taking advantage of a Bruno Gervais penalty. The blue liner would have to serve a two minute sentence for hooking, giving the Devils the extra-man advantage. Cashing in was Brian Rolston (12) who would rip a 60 foot slap shot, which was assisted by Ilya Kovalchuk (27) and Travis Zajac (28) for the 1-0 lead.
The Islanders would have a great chance at the 7:21 mark as Kyle Okposo sizzled a 52 foot wrister that just went wide left of the Devils cage. New York would have another good shot at the 7:39 mark as the returning Milan Jurcina tried a 67 foot slap shot which was stoned by Devils keeper Martin Brodeur.
Much to the delight of many of the 15,893 in attendance the Islanders were able to tally their first goal of the game on a power play opportunity of their own. Devils blue liner Andy Greene would be sent to the sin bin at the 15:54 mark for high sticking. It was at the 17:06 mark that Josh Bailey (10) would net a 12 foot wrister, which was set up by P.A. Parenteau (27) and Okposo (9) to make the game 1-1.
New York would come out skating like a team on a mission in the third period, staring with a great move by Michael Grabner at the 0:32 mark. The winger would try for a 24 foot wrist shot, which would hit the goal post
The Devils would re-gain the lead at the 2:52 mark as the Sniper would make his mark. Ilya Kovalchuk (18) would cash in on a 32 foot wrister, which was set up by Jacob Josefson (One) and Anton Volchenkov (7) for the 2-1 New Jersey lead.
Fans of the Islanders experienced a scary moment at the 9:20 mark as Frans Nielsen was sent to his knees on a crushing hit by Dainius Zubrus; thankfully he would be okay skating off the ice on his own power.
Then the fans experience a joyous moment as Blake Comeau (18) would net a 19 foot wrister at the 16:18 mark, to tie the game 2-2. Cheers of ‘Let’s Go Islanders’ were greeted by ‘Let’s Go Devils’ as electricity would fill Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
These two teams would remain scoreless needing both the overtime and eventually the shootout frame to decide the victor. Things in the shootout frame would start out well for the Islanders, as Nielsen netted a beautiful backhanded shot.
New Jersey would not be able to find an answer until three shooters later, when the Sniper Kovalchuk would strike with a 23 foot wrister. One of the highlights for the Islanders in the shootout was keeper Al Montoya who would make a brilliant save. In the keeper’s first shootout showing he would stop a 10 foot backhanded shot by Patrik Elias as the winger tried a nifty move.
As he has always done throughout his career Martin Brodeur would be stellar cage for the Devils. Brodeur would stop good attempts by both John Tavares and Matt Martin for the Islanders. The frame would reach its 12 participant, who would be none other than Brian Roloson, who would net an 11 foot wrister for the Devils 3-2 victory.
Both keepers would end the night on high notes as Montoya would finish with 27 saves, while Brodeur earned the win making 20 stops in the cage.
The Islanders will remain at Nassau Coliseum to host the Toronto Maple Leafs for a Tuesday night as the puck will drop at 7:00 p.m.