UNIONDALE, NY— Martin Brodeur was on the Nassau Coliseum ice for the entire third period on Saturday night.
The troubling thing for the Islanders is that Brodeur was only slightly more active than he was on Monday. Four goals in 40 minutes chased
Brodeur to the bench in the Islanders win in
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that contest, though the Hall-of-Fame bound Devils goalie extracted revenge in the rematch to lead New Jersey to a 4-2 win.
The Islanders mustered just three shots in the final period, losing for the first time in six home games after Zach Parise scored twice and Bryce Salvador broke a 2-all deadlock with a left point shot 13:11 into the third for the game-winner.
Kyle Okposo and Jack Hillen scored twice during a five-minute match penalty in the second period to hand the Isles a temporary lead.
But Parise tied it at 2 heading into second intermission with a final-minute goal that set the tone for a final period in which the Devils forged
a 14-3 edge in shots.
“In the third period, we didn’t have it,” Okposo said. “I don’t have any explanation for it. We had a bad period and we need to correct some things.”
The Islanders lost for just the second time in seven games. Colin White’s game misconduct and major penalty for driving Sean Bergenheim into the sideboards galvanized the power play, which saw Okposo and Hillen score in a 2:02 span midway through the second period.
Rookie John Tavares picked up an assist on Okposo’s goal at 9:34. Okposo did most of the legwork, driving a shot that beat Brodeur glove-side at the low right post.
Tavares, the Islanders second leading scorer, has scored just one goal in his last 14 games and said the Islanders allowed New Jersey to dictate play in the last 20 minutes.
“We didn’t get any momentum to allow us to generate our forecheck,” Tavares said. “That allows them to set-up and they’re good at closing lanes. They have a goaltender who plays the puck very well, so it makes it difficult if we have no speed to get on it.
“When we don’t do that, we don’t get any shots on net. That was the difference.”
Brodeur made 20 saves as the Devils looked like a much-improved group than six days ago when the Islanders surged to a 4-0 win in front of a sold-out crowd. The arena was filled to capacity again before New Jersey scripted a different ending.
The Devils were coming off three straight road wins and also lost to Montreal at home the night before. Islanders coach Scott Gordon said his team failed to take advantage of an opponent who was less rested than his team.
“We didn’t push the pace to allow ourselves the opportunity to win the game,” Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. “We played the game not to lose.”