A Late Devils Power Play Leads To A Shutout Loss For The Isles
The New York Islanders were looking to continue their winning ways against the New Jersey Devils today in a Super Bowl Sunday matinee but came up short, surrendering three late goals in the third period for a final score of 3-0.
Special teams would be a key factor in this game, as the Islanders had a handful of power play chances in the first period that they were unable to connect on. In the end, a charging penalty on Isles defenseman, Brian Strait would ultimately lead to all three goals scored by the Devils. Steven Bernier received a bouncing puck off an Adam Henrique shot and was easily able to roof it over a sprawled Evgeni Nabokov, who had 24 saves on the night. Adam Greene had the secondary assist.
Just over a minute later, Bernier would strike again, this time at even-strength with the assists coming from Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta.
David Clarkson would add an empty netter, which also gave Greene another helper for the night.
"Well it was one of those games where we can't say that we were horrible but we also cannot say that we did have too good of a hockey game," said Nabokov.
"I thought we had some effort but maybe not for the sixty minutes. That team out there, they know how to play those type of games. They were patient enough, they killed a lot of penalties, and then they scored one on the power play. That's the recipe for the win."
The Isles had all the ingredients to come up with their own recipe, but their power play, which was key in their previous victory over the Devils, was sloppy and unable to muster any real fire power. Although Strait's call on Gionta was viewed as questionable from an Islanders standpoint, the team was not ready to look to the refs for an excuse.
"There's really not much we can do about it at this point or after he made the call," said defenseman Andrew MacDonald. "Our job was to go out and kill that off. As a team, when there's a call like that, when a guy makes what we think is a pretty good hit, we try to kill it off for him and we didn't get the job done."
Strait echoed MacDonald's view on the play.
"It doesn't really matter much, I wasn't trying to charge him - I don't think it was a charge," he said in his defense. "But at the same time, it's part of the game, the referees make a call and you got to try kill it off and whatever happens you live with it and move on to the next one."
The Devils defense was very helpful in preventing the Islanders from getting any second or third chances, and Johan Hedberg came up big when he had too. His best save came on a shorthanded breakaway from the speedster, Michael Grabner. He quickly shifted from his backhand to forehand, but only to have the right pad of Hedberg shut the door.
"We can't get too frustrated," said head coach Jack Capuano in response to the Strait penalty. "We had our opportunities. Not to many on our power play tonight but we had the shorthanded breakaway. He made some good saves at some key moments in the game. I thought he played exceptionally well, he played the puck well. And again, it comes down to the late power play, there. A shot from the point, obviously stemmed the play, a rebound and it's in the net."
The Isles return to action Tuesday night as they play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Side note: I was able to catch Josh Bailey as I was heading into the press-conference with Capuano. He claims to be feeling better and is hoping to be back in the line-up by the end of the week.