newjerseydevils.com (Jan. 16) – Even the momentum of a five-game home winning streak wasn't enough to get the Devils past the New York Islanders at Prudential Center.
Looking for their first victory against their Long Island rival, the Devils ran into a red-hot Rick DiPietro, who posted 37 saves to send New Jersey to a 3-1 defeat in Newark on Wednesday night.
Bill Guerin scored twice, including an empty-netter, and Mike Sillinger added a goal as the Devils fell to the Isles for the fifth time this season (0-4-1).
Travis Zajac notched the lone tally for New Jersey, which went 0-for-5 in five straight opportunities with the man advantage, and saw its overall winning streak snapped at three games.
The Devils (26-16-3) slipped to 13-6 at home with just their second loss in the last 12 games in the Garden State.
"You can't do anything about the past," coach Brent Sutter said, referring to his team's first four losses to New York. "We had our chances to win tonight, and our power play did not produce... We had some quality scoring chances and [DiPietro] made some big saves."
DiPietro, who recorded a 1-0 shutout at Prudential Center on Nov. 16, was strong late in regulation. With 1:55 left he stopped Zajac on a deflection, then Dainius Zubrus on a follow-up wrister as the Devils scrambled for the tying goal.
DiPietro made 15 saves in the third period alone, leaving the Devils stalled in a first-place tie with idle Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Division.
In the first period, Guerin's 16th of the season from Mike Comrie and Miroslav Satan on a two-man advantage gave the Islanders the lead at 15:09.
With Mike Mottau in the box for slashing and Colin White serving two for interference, Satan passed from the point to Comrie at the bottom of the right circle. Comrie quickly worked the puck cross-ice to Guerin for a one-timer from the bottom of the left circle.
Guerin got his shot past a sprawling Martin Brodeur, who saw his personal win streak end at five.
Brodeur (24-14-2) recorded 20 saves and allowed two goals or less for the ninth time in his last 10 starts (8-2).
Guerin's was the only goal allowed by New Jersey's penalty killers, who went 3-for-4 and gave up their second goal in the last 12 games (34-for-36).
The Devils' PK had gone six straight games without being scored upon (16-for-16).
Sillinger's 11th from Trent Hunter and Ruslan Fedotenko gave New York a two-goal edge at 4:17 of the second period.
Hunter began the play, sliding past Johnny Oduya along the right boards and dropping for Fedotenko behind the Devils' net.
Hunter got the puck back from Fedotenko for a pass in front to an open Sillinger for the tap-in goal.
Having been whistled for the first four penalties of the contest, the Devils were awarded four straight power plays in the second, but couldn't capitalize.
Elias was robbed by DiPietro during New Jersey's third power play of the night with under two minutes left in the second.
Zubrus carried down the right wing and found a trailing Elias in the high slot for a wrist shot that DiPietro snapped up with his catching glove with 1:21 remaining.
"You need your power play to step up," Sutter said. "They didn't produce and that's the bottom line. We had opportunities in 5-on-5 play and didn't score. You have to give their goaltender a lot of credit. He played a heck of a game."
Zajac's ninth of the season from Brian Gionta and Zubrus brought the Devils within one in the third period.
Gionta gained the offensive zone on a pass from Elias, carrying deep before losing an edge in the left corner. He left the puck for Zubrus before getting it back for a slapshot from outside the left circle that Zajac tipped through DiPietro at 7:11.
Guerin ended hopes of a New Jersey comeback with an empty-net goal for his 17th of the season at 19:00.
The Devils next face the Islanders on Feb. 23 and March 21 at Prudential Center, before closing out the season series on April 1 at the Nassau Coliseum.
Next up for New Jersey is a 7 p.m. meeting with the Florida Panthers this Friday.
The club wraps up the three-game homestand against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday at 5 p.m.
NJD NOTES John Madden missed Wednesday's contest with an ankle laceration suffered Jan. 12 at Buffalo. Madden, who appeared in New Jersey's first 44 games this season, is listed as day-to-day... Wednesday marked the first time that Madden and Jay Pandolfo have both been out of the lineup since Madden became a Devils' regular in 1999-00... Cam Janssen (shoulder), Pandolfo (groin) and Karel Rachunek (sore ankle) remained sidelined... ... Barry Tallackson was called up under emergency conditions, and skated on a line with Mike Rupp and Rod Pelley... Sheldon Brookbank was a healthy scratch.
ETC... David Clarkson had two of New Jersey's best scoring chances in the first. He caught iron with an off-wing wrist shot at 11:01, taking an Arron Asham feed on a 2-on-1. The rookie winger had another scoring chance at 13:25, muscling around Bryan Berard from the right boards for a shot that was denied by DiPietro.
1 - 0 NYI
2 - 0 NYI
2 - 1 NYI
3 - 1 NYI
Delaying the game