Devils 2, Islanders 1 FINAL
|Danis (2-0) needed 23 saves to defeat his former team.
's 100th career goal as a Devil has Jersey's Team riding its longest winning streak of the season.
Rolston broke a 1-1 tie with 6:20 left in the second period to lift the Devils to their fourth straight triumph with a 2-1 win over the visiting New York Islanders.
On the night they welcomed back Patrik Elias
, the Devils won for the third time in their last four contests at Prudential Center.
scored his first goal in red and black to help New Jersey erase a 1-0 first-period deficit. Rolston's power-play blast from the top of the right circle beat Martin Biron's stickside as the Devils secured back-to-back home wins for the first time this season.
"We're really battling, I'm telling you," Rolston said. "I think we played well tonight. We had a lot of good scoring opportunities. (Last game) we get two huge power-play goals and we get another one tonight – that's big."
Head coach Jacques Lemaire was impressed. His club held 2009 first-overall draft pick John Tavares to just one shot on goal and no points.
"Rolie was probably the best forward the whole night," Lemaire said. "He played really well the whole night. Not only his goal; he won battles. He won a lot of pucks and he made some plays. He got the goal; played against the top line on the other side. He was good."
Yann Danis got the job done in net, stopping 23 shots to defeat his former team and prevail in his Garden State debut. He joined Martin Brodeur
, Alain Chevrier and John Vanbiesbrouck as the only Devils goaltenders to win their first two starts.
He got help from Travis Zajac
, who cleared Kyle Okposo's stuff attempt away from the goal line with 35.5 seconds remaining and Biron out of the net for an extra attacker. The puck squirted off the left post and behind Danis, then slid slowly along the line before Zajac swooped in to knock it away.
"I had no idea that the puck had gone behind me like that," Danis said. "I thought I still had it against the post. I didn't know it came that close. It was a good play to clear it like that. It was certainly close."
|Elias saw 16:01 of total ice time, including 4:11 on the power play, and finished with four shots on goal.
Elias made his 2009-10 debut following a recovery from offseason groin surgery. He saw 16 minutes of ice time on 24 shifts, and got a warm ovation from the crowd when he hit the ice for a Devils' penalty kill early in the first period.
"It was an up-and-down game for me," said Elias, the Devils' all-time leading scorer. "A little sore at the beginning, the second was good, third I got a little tired again. It's expected and just have to be smart about it."
He spent part of the game centering Niclas Bergfors and Matt Halischuk. Later, Zach Parise
was moved to his left wing, with Bergfors slotted on the right side.
Elias was stuck on the bench for what would have been his first shift when the Devils took two minor penalties in the first 2:19 of the game. He was on the ice for New York's only goal, and finished a minus-1.
"That wasn't very good for my leg there, jumping in cold," Elias said. "It took me a couple of shifts to get going."
He said he heard the crowd at the Rock chanting his name on his first shift.
"Yes," he deadpanned. "I showed them what I could do and what they were missing right away with that move and the missed shot."
Lemaire said Elias would not travel to Ottawa, where the Devils (10-4-0) face the Senators on Saturday. They return home to battle Anaheim on Wednesday.
After stumbling to a 1-4 start in Newark, the Devils appear to have conquered their home woes. The power play has produced four goals in the last three home games, and was bolstered by the resurgent Rolston on Friday.
"I've been so fortunate to be in this League as long as I have, and to have contributed that much to this organization means a lot to me," Rolston said. "There's a reason I wanted to come back to this organization. I'm happy that I got that, but that's a good thing."
The Devils entered the game with the fourth fewest penalty minutes in the League, but took two minors in the opening 2:19 of the contest. Special teams were quickly put to the test, and killed off 21 seconds of a 5-on-3.
New Jersey went 1-for-5 on the power play, and killed three New York power plays.
"I think we played pretty well," Jamie Langenbrunner
said. "The PK was good tonight, we really limited their power play and the kill, 5-on-3, was a huge boost. Getting a power play goal was big. The power play has three goals in the last two games and that's huge, especially when we're struggling a little bit scoring goals."
In the first period, Frans Nielsen evaded a backchecking Elias to give the Islanders the game's first lead.
Nielsen got free in front of the net to collect Sean Bergenheim's pass and backhand a dribbler through Danis at 6:23.
"It looked like he kind of fanned on it, and double hit it, or something," Danis said. "It just barely squeezed between my arm and my body."
Murphy's first of the season knotted things at 1-1 in the second period. The defenseman blasted a slapshot from the right point that skimmed along the ice and found an opening between Biron's pads at 2:38.
"I just kind of walked into it and tried to keep it low and get it to the net," Murphy said. "It sneaked in."
It was an important goal for the Devils – and for Murphy, who was recalled on Oct. 26 following a four-game stint in Lowell (AHL).
"It tied the game up and obviously it's nice to be able to contribute and chip in with a goal," Murphy said.
Rolston's fourth of the year ended the stalemate on the power play at 13:40 of the second period. He has scored in back-to-back games after going his previous seven without recording a point.
"(Andy) Greenie made a nice play, he drags it the middle, and I have a lot of time to shoot that one," Rolston said. "Great screen by David Clarkson
as well. It definitely feels good and I just want to keep rolling with that. That's what I was brought here to do and it's been a little bit frustrating here in the beginning but I'm feeling better and want to keep contributing."
Lemaire on Friday's game:
"I think we gave less chances than we got. I think we controlled the puck really well in our end. Our retrievals were really good. Guys were making the right play; the first pass was really good out of our end. The second period was probably the best period we've played in a long time.
"Good for the first game. It's hard when you haven't played for six months and coming back and being in the action like he was there. I didn't look at how many minutes he played, but I think he played quite a bit. It's hard but you can tell he's got talent. When he'll be at his best, he's going to help this team."
On the decision not to play Elias in Ottawa:
"First game, we don't want to take any chances. He feels good, but we just want to make sure his next game, he's going to have time to rest. This was hard for him. You could tell at the end. He didn't have that same energy in the third period. I think it'll be a good decision for him to rest."
"He does what he's been doing for a few years. He's got good position; he sees the puck well, better than he did the first game. He's a good goalie. He's steady. You look at him and it's easy to believe in him because he's always well-positioned. There's a lot of pucks that hit him. That's why it's easy to believe in the kid."
Langenbrunner on the Devils improving at home:
"We did what we were supposed to do. You're supposed to win games at home. In this League, you better have a winning record at home otherwise it's going to be tough coming into the year. We've played better games at home. We still need to find the net a little bit more. You can't be living on two goals every night. I think we're playing better defensively now at home, and that's a good sign."
On coping with injuries:
"We're doing some good things. We're scratching out wins. Wouldn't say any of them are pretty or exactly the way we want to play, but we're getting better and we knew it'd be tough especially when you're some missing guys on the back end. Some guys are being stretched out with minutes that makes it tough on them, but they've responded well."
• With his assist on Murphy's goal, Ilkka Pikkarainen picked up his first NHL point.
• F Rob Niedermayer and D Johnny Oduya were placed on injured reserve on Friday
…the Devils announced that F Dean McAmmond was signed to a two-way deal.
• The Devils improved to 1-2-0 in the first game of back-to-backs.
|Three star selections