New York, NY- The New York Islanders (14-23-7) were bested by Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils (13-29-3) by the score of 5-2 in hockey action on Monday afternoon.
After the Islanders 5-3 over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, New York would have a sluggish first period of play allowing two quick New Jersey goals in the first period of play. Those goals would be the difference in a tough loss for the Islanders, who played much better in the second and third periods.
“The second and third periods the guys played much better,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “In the first period the guys got off to a sluggish start, but we played pretty solid and got ourselves back in the game.”
In what was a controversial, hart hitting affair at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the Islanders were able to come back, but could not best the Devils. It was in the second period of play that New York’s offense started to come to life.
P.A. Parenteau thought that he had tallied the third Islanders goal at the 18:31 mark of the second period of play, but due to interference in front of the net that goal would be called back. After the replay the 13,119 in attendance started to voice their displeasure.
“I was surprised when that goal was called back,” said Parenteau. “I am convinced that the goal was legal, but there is nothing that can be done about it now.”
It had seemed as if the Devils had pushed winger Michael Grabner into the cage to cause the interference, which would negate the Parenteau goal. That also killed the energy from the crowd who started to go bonkers at the offensive surge of the team at the time.
“I went to the net, got the puck to my stick and was pushed from behind, and the n collided with the goalie” said Michael Grabner. “I looked at the referee next to the goal, and he said it was good. I thought he had a good look at it. I don’t know who called that goal back, but I thought the ref had a good look at it.”
That would not negate though a very slow start to that first period in which the Devils would tally two goals about a minute apart. Starting the New Jersey offense at the 4:25 mark was Vladimir Zharkov (1) who tallied an eight foot backhander for his first NHL goal, which was assisted by Mattias Tedenby (6) and Jason Arnott (9) for the 1-0 lead.
“We didn’t come out hard enough,” Parenteau would say. “We needed to get off to a good start tonight.”
Teammate Andrew MacDonald agreed saying, “They got two goals on us early, and we as a team need to find a way to have better starts. We have a lot to learn from this game. We need to be prepared and be consistent.”
New Jersey would then cash in on a power play opportunity as Islanders blue liner Jack Hillen was sent to the box for two minutes for hooking Patrik Elias. Winger Ilya Kovalchuk (13) would then sniper in a 57 foot slap shot at the 5:22 mark, which was assisted by Andy Green (13) and Travis Zajac (18) for the 2-0 lead.
In the second period the physical intensity between the two rivals would reach a boiling point, as two fights would break out between the two squads. The first fight was between Mark Fraser and Zenon Konopka at the 5:09 mark.
Even though the fight would fire up the Islanders, it was the Devils who would respond with offense as Mattias Tedenby (5) would give the Devils the 3-0 lead at the 6:40 mark. The winger, who was set up by Mark Fraser (1) and Rod Pelly (3), would then push a pretty backhander past Islanders keeper Kevin Poulin.
The Islanders would not quit though as at the 10:56 mark P.A. Parenteau (11) tallied a pretty backhander of his own, which was assisted by Blake Comeau (16) and Radek Martinek (5) to cut the Devils lead to 3-1. That offensive surge would continue as at the 11:50 mark Michael Grabner (11) would rip a 12 foot wrister, which was assisted by Josh Bailey (8) and Travis Hamonic (7) to make the score 3-2.
New Jersey would however continue their offensive pressure at the 16:59 mark when Rod Pelly (3) was able to tip-in a 11 foot wrister, which was assisted by Mark Fraser (2) and Jason Arnott (10) to give the Devils the 4-2 lead.
Dainius Zubrus (7) would tally an eight foot wrister at the 17:53 mark of that frame, which was assisted by Patrik Elias (22) and Brian Roloson (7) to make the lead 5-2 in favor of the Devils.
It was shortly after that when the controversial Parenteau goal was scored, then called back by the officials on the ice. In spite of many good offensive opportunities it was the Devils that were able to skate away with the 5-2 victory.
“It is really frustrating because we were staring to do some really good things on the ice,” Parenteau said. “It is what it is and we have to move on.”
Head coach Jack Capuano would have this to say of what he liked from the team. “There was no quit, we battled throughout the game, we were vocal and we believed in ourselves. It was a good team we played against today. In the end we played hard, but didn’t get the result we wanted.”
In the cage Martin Brodeur was solid making 27 saves in the victory for the Devils, while rookie Kevin Poulin recovered from a rough start recording 22 saves in the cage for the Islanders.
“If you ask him, he will tell you that he would have liked to have gotten some of those goals back, Capuano said of Poulin‘s performance. “But he did a good job and really battled in the cage for us.”
New York will continue this home stretch as they host the Washington Capitals for a 7:00 p.m. Thursday night face-off. The Islanders will be holding their first of two coat drives on that night.
Notes: Rick DiPietro was not seen on the bench for the Islanders this afternoon. Afterward coach Capuano confirmed that the keeper was okay and could have acted as a backup in the game. Also blue liner Milan Jurcina was missing during the course of the game due to an injury, nothing else was confirmed except that it was the upper body that was hurting the defender.