Devils 6, Islanders 1 FINAL
|The Devils improved to 2-0 against the Isles this season.
In the wake of another key injury, the Devils produced perhaps their most dominating effort of the season.
On Saturday, after learning that David Clarkson
would miss the next four to six weeks with a leg fracture, the Devils won their third in a row with a 6-1 matinee defeat of the visiting Islanders.
and Patrik Elias
each had two goals and two assists as Jersey's Team lit the lamp six times for the first time this season.
Rolston broke a 1-1 tie on a power play midway through the second period. Jamie Langenbrunner
passed to the bottom of the left circle for Elias, who found Rolston in the slot. Rolston's seventh of the season went off the right post and put New Jersey ahead for good at 12:06.
The Devils pumped three more past New York's Martin Biron in a 2:02 span of the third period to secure their sixth straight win on home ice.
needed 22 saves to capture his third straight victory. New Jersey (17-6-1) outshot New York, 42-23, and took a one-point lead over Pittsburgh and Washington for first overall in the conference. Both the Pens and Caps were in action Saturday night.
The chemistry between Elias and Rolston has started to pay dividends. Elias, the Devils' all-time leading scorer, has caught fire with three goals and seven assists over his last six contests.
Elias got his first of the day on a 1:50 two-man advantage, blasting a one-timer through Biron from the right circle. He struck again for his third of season on a snapshot with 45 seconds left in regulation.
During one stretch in October, Rolston went seven games without a point. He now has eight goals and five assists on the season courtesy of six points (4g-2a) in his last four outings.
"Rolie's a great shooter and Patty's a great passer," said Zach Parise
, whose 15th of the season was one of four New Jersey goals in the third. "They were able to hook up a few times tonight and it's great to have depth scoring. We have a lot of injuries, but the scoring's been spread out and that's great."
Head coach Jacques Lemaire is happy to have two lines producing.
"They did the job tonight, for sure, again," Lemaire said of Elias and Rolston. "I think they're on top of their game now. They're playing good hockey and they play with confidence. They enjoy the game. You can tell when you talk to them, they feel better than they did at the start."
Had they not hit the post four times, the Devils might have connected for six goals by the end of the second period. They appeared to have taken a 3-1 lead with 44.5 seconds left in the second, but a video review overturned what would have been Matt Halischuk's second of the season.
Halischuk's redirection of an Andy Greene
shot hit the right post and kicked back across the net mouth without fully crossing the goal line.
"I knew it didn't go in as soon as I looked back and saw it hit the post right away," Halischuk said.
Halischuk also hit iron with 10:30 left in the first. Matt Corrente's shot from the point went wide, and Halischuk controlled the carom off the end boards for a shot off the right post. Vladimir Zharkov
, bidding for his first career goal in his NHL debut, put the rebound into Biron's chest.
"The whole line, we all had chances," Halischuk said of his trio with Zharkov and Dean McAmmond. "I think if you keep getting chances like that, they'll eventually start going in."
The posts continued. Two minutes into the second, McAmmond's recovery of a Zharkov rebound hit off the left iron and rolled up Biron's back before he was able to freeze play. With 5:30 left in the second, a Greene wrister from the point hit the right pipe.
In the end, though, the Devils would get all the offense they needed to sweep their third straight back-to-back. They play eight of their next nine games at the Rock, and host Vancouver on Wednesday.
New York led, 1-0, after the first period on Richard Park's second of the season. He launched a long-range shot from inside the blue line that eluded Brodeur at 11:18.
The Devils avoided falling into a deeper hole by killing off two Islanders power plays in the final 4:16 of the first.
"We were fortunate that they didn't score more than what they did in the first," Lemaire said. "I think the kill, that's exactly what I told them in the room after the first period, I said, 'Well now, when we are 5-on-5, we don't play with intensity. When we play 4-on-5, we are better.' We're getting chances, and I said that I would like to know the reason. The guys knew. Right away, a couple of guys said, 'We're more intense.' I said, 'Well, can we bring that in the game 5-on-5?'"
Mike Mottau tied it up 54 seconds into the second period with his first of the year. He carried behind the New York net, and backhanded a centering feed for Langenbrunner that hit off Sean Bergenheim, then Mark Streit before slipping under Biron.
Leading, 2-1, in the third, the Devils capitalized on 1:50 of a two-man advantage. Rolston fed Elias for a blast from the right circle at 10:30. Later, Parise whacked away at a Greene rebound until he jammed home his second goal in as many games at 11:54.
Rolston was all alone at the right side of the net to flip in his second of the day off a Mottau rebound at 12:32.
"In the third, the goals came easier," said Lemaire. "We sent pucks at the net and for some reason, got the right bounce."
|Zharkov fired five shots on goal in his NHL debut.
Lemaire thought Zharkov-McAmmond-Halischuk was the Devils' best line in the first period.
"They played well through the whole game," he said. "You couldn't have asked for more than what they did. They could've scored at least a couple of goals."
The coach liked what he saw in Zharkov's NHL debut.
"Very good," he said. "Strong skater, good with the puck. He's good. He sees the ice well. He's fine. He's going to play; he's going to be a player."
Zharkov was a little nervous, but said Langenbrunner and Travis Zajac
helped him feel at home.
"Jamie and Zajac said, 'Let's go Zharky, it's no problem. You played in exhibition games and it's the same game," Zharkov said.
• Lemaire did not address Clarkson's injury with his team before Saturday's game.
"You've got guys that are excited to play," Lemaire said. "It's always like that on teams. You've got young kids that are waiting for something to happen so they get a chance to play. The players, then, they know they still have their lines. They still have to deliver the goods. When you're a professional, you get ready to deliver the goods."
• Rod Pelley
fought Nate Thompson at 11:03 of the first period. Pelley was in the lineup for a second straight game after being scratched in two straight.
Late in the second period, Corrente dropped the gloves with Tim Jackman for his first NHL fight. Lemaire said he wasn't surprised when it happened.
"He was looking for a partner," Lemaire said. "I guess that's the one he found. He's a little excited. Maybe he's got too much energy."
Corrente, 6-0, thought he held his own against the 6-4 Jackman, and said he felt good to get his first scrap out of the way.
"I thought I did pretty well," Corrente said. "He's a pretty tough guy. I did all right. We both got some nice shots in. Just trying to spark our teams."
|Three star selections