(Denis Potvin drops the ceremonial faceoff)
The Islanders played and looked the part of a team finishing off a six game in nine-night stretch but somehow found a way to produce two points. Without Jaroslav Halak it might have been a different story but he put the team on his back, especially in the third period.
The Islanders defeated the Devils 3-1 in a game filled with several momentum swings. In the first period Kyle Okposo hammered a slap shot that somehow trickled behind Cory Schneider. Nikolay Kulemin went hard to the net, found the loose puck and deposited it in the back of the net. Shortly after that, Damien Brunner redirected a shot past Jaroslav Halak to tie the game. That would be the only puck that could find a way past the red hot Islander goaltender.
“I thought our goalie was excellent. I thought our goalie played really well.” Jack Capuano said after Halak won his ninth consecutive game. “They made a push second half of the game and in the third and we couldn’t respond… We were fortunate tonight. It’s a long stretch for our guys—six games in nine nights and it showed a little bit tonight in the third period.”
The Islanders have put to bed all the problems November has offered in the past. They have won 10 out their last 12 and completed the month with a stellar 11-3 record.
It wasn’t easy earning this victory as the Devils fought hard till the very end. The Islanders were outshot 16-2 in the third period and gave the Devils a golden opportunity in the final minutes.
With just over three minutes remaining Brock Nelson got sent to the sin bin for two minutes. Just 1:05 later Calvin de Haan took down Jagr in front of the net and the Devils had a five-on-three opportunity.
The Islanders had to dig deep and got some much needed help from Devils Head Coach Peter DeBoer. The Devils elected not to increase their advantage by pulling the goalie to create a rare six on three scenario.”
“It’s a big situation. Those are the kills you need to win games,” Casey Cizikas said after scoring an empty netter shorthanded. “We just did whatever we had to (do in order to) win. We got in shot lanes. Jaro (Jaroslav Halak) came up with some big saves. We made timely blocks and when we had the puck on our stick we got it out.”
“This is our job,” Cizikas continued. “This is what we are supposed to do. As (penalty) killers that’s our mindset. You go in and get the kill. You do whatever it takes to get it and that’s what we have been doing.”
The Islanders have been up to the task and thrived while facing a challenging schedule through the first two months of the season. They have completed a west coast trip and six back-to-back games. They will look to continue their winning ways as they take on the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night at Nassau Coliseum.