Islanders 7, Devils 3
Langenbrunner jams away at a loose puck in front of Joey MacDonald.
For Brent Sutter, Saturday's loss came down to effort.
The Devils' head coach didn't get what he expected from his club, and the result was a 7-3 defeat by the last-place New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Brian Gionta, Jamie Langenbrunner
and Patrik Elias
scored for New Jersey, which allowed seven goals for the first time this season and saw its winning streak snapped at four.
"This team we played today worked hard again, and we weren't ready to match that work ethic," Sutter said. "It's hard to play this game when you're not physically involved. Outside of a couple of guys, we weren't involved like we need to be."
made his fifth straight start and lost for the first time since returning from elbow surgery on Feb. 26. He gave up three goals in each of the first two periods, and was relieved by Kevin Weekes at the start of the third.
Brodeur (10-3-2) finished with 20 saves, but lost in regulation for the first time since Oct. 24. Weekes stopped the only shot he faced.
"You'd definitely like to play better and win every game you're in, but sometimes it's not going to go that way," Brodeur said. "Getting beat that way it's even worse. As a team, we just didn't compete hard enough to match their intensity."
Sean Bergenheim notched his first career hat trick, including an empty-netter with 0.7 seconds left in regulation, and Jeff Tambellini had a goal and an assist for New York. Joey MacDonald needed 35 saves, as the Islanders were outshot 38-28.
The Devils closed out the season series versus the Islanders (4-2-0) with back-to-back losses in which they were outscored by a combined 11-3.
"You have to get ready for every game, for whatever reason, the last two times in this building we haven't been ready, and they've taken advantage of it," Langenbrunner said. "It shows how close teams are in this League. If you're not sharp or on top of your game, anybody can beat anybody."
The Islanders took an early lead on Radek Martinek's goal 1:24 into the game, and held a 3-0 advantage after 20 minutes. Tim Jackman crashed the net on Martinek's shot from the right circle, and Brodeur said he couldn't see the play because of the snow from Jackman's skates.
Gionta put the Devils on the board 29 seconds into the second before Langenbrunner cut the deficit to 4-2 at 4:01.
New York then scored twice in the final seven minutes of the second, including Blake Comeau's power-play goal, to put the contest out of reach at 6-2 with 2:40 left in the middle frame.
The Islanders took two penalties for putting the puck over the glass in the final four minutes of regulation. Sutter pulled Weekes for a 6-on-4 advantage with 3:44 remaining, then again with 1:35 left, but came away empty-handed.
"I know it's one game, but this is the time of year when you need players to rise to the occasion," Sutter said. "Your team's as good as individuals play, and when you have a lot of individuals play well below standards, your team is not going to be very good."
The Devils have two days off before hosting first-place Calgary on Tuesday. Phoenix visits Prudential Center on Thursday.
Jersey's Team (42-20-3) will look to shake off Saturday's loss and get back to playing the hockey that has them ahead of Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division, and chasing Boston for first overall in the Eastern Conference.
"We played four pretty good games (during the winning streak) and put ourselves in a good position," Langenbrunner said. "Today's one of those games that can come back and bite you. It hurts and we have to find a way to get back. It's not going to get any easier. We have tough games coming up."
The Islanders already led when John Madden went off for high-sticking in the first. Josh Bailey put a centering feed off Brodeur from the right side of the net, and Okposo got his 13th from the left circle to make it 2-0 at 10:59.
Okposo's tally was New York's first power-play goal since their 4-0 win over the Devils on Feb. 21.
Tambellini scored on a breakaway for his fourth, collecting Mark Streit's long flip in the neutral zone and skating up the middle to slide a backhander between Brodeur's pads to make it 3-0 at 14:05.
The teams combined for three goals in the first four minutes of the second period, including tallies by Gionta and Langenbrunner.
Gionta's 15th made it 3-1 just 29 seconds in. He tipped Colin White
's point shot over MacDonald's left shoulder for his second goal in three games, and extended his points streak to four games (2g-3a).
New York answered 1:11 later when Mike Iggulden, playing his second career NHL game, wrapped a backhander into the crease, where Bergenheim put it past Brodeur for his 12th at 1:40.
Langenbrunner's 21st brought the Devils back within a pair at 4-2. Bryce Salvador
fired on MacDonald from the left point, and Langenbrunner shoveled the rebound into the open shortside.
The Devils' captain stretched his points streak to a fifth game (3g-3a).
Langenbrunner was off for tripping when Comeau one-timed Bailey's centering pass for a power-play goal at 13:00. New York finished 2-for-2 with the man advantage.
Bergenheim's second of the game made it 6-2 with 2:40 left in the second.
Elias got his 26th of the season, 10th on the power play, with a slot redirection of Paul Martin's point shot. Elias moved to within four points of John MacLean's all-time franchise record (701).
Niclas Havelid made his Devils debut, though it wasn't the outcome the veteran d-man was looking for. "Obviously, you always want to win," Havelid said. "The first period set the tone for the rest of the game. First game's out of the way, and now we just need to keep moving forward."... Zach Parise
had a helper to reach the 40-assist plateau for the first time in his career... Andy Greene
and Mike Rupp were scratches.
|Three star selections