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NHL Game Summary - NY Islanders at New Jersey



(Thursday, December 23rd)

Final Score: NY Islanders 5, New Jersey 1

Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils have found themselves in unfamiliar waters this season and brought back a familiar face in an effort to right a sinking ship.

But even with Jacques Lemaire beginning his third stint behind the Devils' bench, New Jersey was dealt a 5-1 loss by the New York Islanders.

A move that was far from surprising, the Devils fired rookie head coach John MacLean Thursday morning after the two-time defending Atlantic Division champs posted a 9-22-2 record under his stewardship. In an ironic twist, MacLean had replaced Lemaire after he announced his retirement in April after a one-year return to New Jersey. Lemaire's first tenure as Devils coach came from 1993-94 through 1997-98 and featured the first of the franchise's three Stanley Cup championships.

"This was a decision that certainly was not one that is pleasant, or we feel good about," said Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello. "But it's a decision that, in my opinion, had to be made."

New Jersey has made the playoffs in 13 straight seasons, but finds itself at the bottom of the league standings with 20 points. The Devils haven't missed the postseason since the 1995-96 campaign -- the year after their first Stanley Cup title.

Josh Bailey registered two goals and an assist for the Islanders, winners in three of their last four games. John Tavares, Frans Nielsen and Blake Comeau also tallied for New York, while Dwayne Roloson made 34 saves.

"We got doubled up in shots, but we found a way to win. Roloson played great for us," said New York head coach Jack Capuano.

The Islanders snapped their road losing streak at 12 games.

Travis Zajac scored the lone goal for New Jersey, which has been outscored 20-4 in losing their last four games.

"When you struggle like we struggle, you don't turn this around in a couple shifts. It's going to take a little time," Lemaire said.

Martin Brodeur was beaten five times on just 14 shots. Brodeur played in his 1,100th career game, extending his own NHL record.

New York erupted for three goals in the first period.

New Jersey captain Jamie Langenbrunner tried to a force a pass through the middle of the Devils' zone that Bailey, playing in his second game for the Isles after a demotion to the American Hockey League, stole before beating Brodeur with a backhander at 3:09.

Bailey struck again on a power play at 5:39, then Tavares collected the rebound of a Travis Hamonic point shot in the left circle and fired it past Brodeur to make it 3-0 at the 11-minute mark.

Zajac put New Jersey on the board 81 seconds into the middle stanza, but Nielsen answered with his third short-handed goal of the season.

Bailey, looking for the hat trick, was denied on a partial breakaway, but Nielsen followed up the play and beat a sprawled Brodeur at 10:43 of the second period.

Comeau capped the scoring at 3:15 of the third period.

Game Notes

The Devils fell to 1-9-0 in December...The Islanders' last victory as the guest came on October 21 in Tampa...Comeau appeared in the 200th game of his NHL career.

12/23 23:44:42 ET

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