In one of the more exciting games I’ve seen this year, especially between these two teams, both combatants deserved a point. The Islanders would earn that second point in overtime. Brad Boyes scored the game winner on the powerplay to give New York the 5-4 victory over New Jersey in the extra frame.
The final tally came as Martin Brodeur tried to play the puck behind the net. John Tavares jumped into the glass to block it. He tried to shoot past a sprawling Brodeur, initiating the free-for-all in front, eventually settled by Boyes clincher.
“We didn’t deserve to win. We didn’t play well enough to win,” said Head Coach Peter DeBoer.
The Islander’s went after the Devils goaltender when he played the puck. The second power play goal they scored came off a Brodeur clear attempt which was stopped. Marty finished with 30 saves.
The young Islanders dominated the special teams all night. New York was 3-for-4 on the extra man advantage, while they killed off all five of the Devils man-up chances. The Islanders also had chances shorthanded to score, including a Michael Grabner breakaway, but he hit the post. They were more confident on special teams as they moved the puck effectively, finding the seams on the ice.
“We lost the special teams battles. We lost the faceoff battle. I said this before: You get what you deserve in this game.”
New York won the draws 33-26. Another alarming stat: the Devils had 13 giveaways. The Islanders only had 1.
“We were just turning the puck over too much,” said DeBoer.
“We still didn’t play a good enough game,” said Patrick Elias, who took an unsportsmanlike penalty and had 4 giveaways. “One line played well and was rewarded”
That would be the CBGB line of Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier. With the Islanders up by two in the second period, they responded right away. An Adam Larsson shot found its way to the net, where Gionta pushed across to Bernier who scored his first of the season. Minutes later, they got the puck deep in the zone. Matt Anderson, on for Bernier, was in the left corner. He shot the puck off Nabokov with Carter waiting in front. After two whacks, it was in the back of the net.
DeBoer credits the CBGB line who “figured out what kind of game it was going to be”.
When New Jersey kept it a physical, even strength battle, they had the advantage. They outmuscled the Isles defenseman behind the net to begin the cycle. Nabokov was not spectacular, but he was bombarded from time to time. He finished with 28 saves.
Adam Larsson and Adam Henrique played in their first game of the year. Both sophomore players did good in their respective positions. Larsson played 17:51, was a +1, and blocked two shots. He was on the ice mostly against Michael Grabner’s line. He contained the speedy winger at even strength.
Henrique has been recovering from a thumb injury. DeBoer wasn’t going to use him that much tonight. By the end of the game, he was playing left wing on the top line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac. The fans welcomed him back chanting his name during his first shift. He responded by scoring in the third period to tie the game at four.
“He’s got a knack for those big goals,” said DeBoer. “I played him more than I wanted to. He’s a hard guy to keep on the bench.”
“I felt great on the ice. Took a bit to get back…every shift out there I felt better and better,” said Henrique after the game.
New Jersey fell to 3-0-3 on the year. They’ve lost their last three games, but have played in four straight games that went to overtime. A good feature about the team early in the season is their resiliency to come back when they are being outplayed. While the Devils have not lost in regulation, they have to find a way to get the full two points in extra time. The team is confident it will come.
“It’s not perfect but we’re chipping away. There’s going to be different kinds of hockey games this season. You have to find ways to win” said DeBoer
“If we find a way to put a full 60 minutes, we can get that second point” said Elias.
Notes: …Henrik Tallinder scored the Devils third goal. That’s the defenseman’s first goal since April 6th, 2011 vs Toronto…Matt Anderson earned his first NHL point, assisting on Carter’s goal…With an assists in tonight’s game, David Clarkson now has a point in each of the Devils first six games…Tonight’s 17,625 sellout crowd was the 15th straight sellout at the Prudential Center dating back to the 2012 playoffs…
About the Author: Sports Reporter by day, puck stopper between the pipes at night. I was the Locker Room Reporter for the Islanders for WRHU-FM. Currently, I cover the New Jersey Devils on HockeyIndependent.com and Metro Area Hockey on BrooklynFans.com Follow me on Twitter @John_A_Iadevaia