NHL Game Summary - NY Islanders at New Jersey
(Sunday, March 28th)
Final Score: New Jersey 3, NY Islanders 2
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Patrik Elias recorded a goal and two assists to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders at the Meadowlands.
Scott Gomez also factored in all three goals for the Devils, who moved into a tie with fifth-place Ottawa with 96 points, one behind Toronto for the all- important fourth spot in the Eastern Conference. Scott Niedermayer and Brian Gionta lit the lamp for New Jersey, which is also now two points behind Atlantic Division leader Philadelphia with three games remaining.
"We're still alive and they [the Flyers ] have a tough schedule," said Devils goalie Martin Brodeur. "They'll play their games, and we'll play our games and we'll see how it turns out."
Brodeur saw just 14 shots as the Devils snapped a three-game skid to New York, while Rick DiPietro made 25 saves in a losing effort at the other end.
Dave Scatchard and Mark Parrish scored for the Islanders, who failed to distance themselves further from Buffalo for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. New York remained five points ahead of the idle Sabres with only three games left. Kenny Jonsson assisted on both tallies for the Isles.
Niedermayer got the Devils on the board first with his 13th of the season 6:26 into the opening stanza. Niedermayer skated across the blue line for a shot which was stopped by DiPietro, but the netminder had no chance on the rebound as Mattias Weinhandl checked a driving Elias into DiPietro.
The Isles lulled Brodeur to sleep with just two shots in the first before Scatchard woke him up in a hurry in the final minute. Skating down a man, Scatchard streaked down the right wing and fired one over Brodeur's glove from a sharp angle for his ninth tally of the season.
New Jersey grabbed the lead back at 2-1 after a video review granted Elias his 37th goal of the year five minutes into the second. Elias got behind the defense for a backhand that DiPietro initially blocked, but he lost site of the puck in his pads, and it eventually made it over the goal line by a hair for Elias' third goal in as many games.
Gionta received credit for his 21st to give the Devils a 3-1 advantage after a nifty play by Gomez with 2:07 to play in the second frame. Gomez fanned on a one-timer in the slot, but spun around to avoid the check of Weinhandl to fire another wrister that Gionta got a piece of on the way in.
"We played hard tonight, but you can't fall behind with a third goal at the end of the second period," said Isles coach Steve Stirling. "We had a huge mountain to climb. You can't fall behind a team like New Jersey by two goals and expect to win those too often."
New York narrowed the gap to one only 43 ticks into the third period on a deflection goal by Parrish, his 22nd of the campaign.
The Isles mustered just two shots the rest of the way until Arron Asham's point-blank chance with around five minutes remaining was turned away by Brodeur, and that was all the Devils needed to hold on for the victory.
Elias now has 10 points (3g, 7a) in his last five games...Gionta now has eight game-winning goals on the season...New Jersey forward Jeff Friesen did not come out for the third period due to a pinched nerve in his shoulder...The Devils also lost winger Grant Marshall for the game after he apparently injured his right hand in a first-period fight with Eric Cairns.
03/28 22:26:01 ET