It was a big win for the Devils, but it proved especially rewarding for Bryce Salvador.
After accidentally putting a puck into his own net in the second period, Salvador broke a 2-2 tie with 6:49 to go in regulation. The Devils went on to a solid 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders Saturday at Nassau Coliseum.
“It was definitely a much-needed win and a great feeling to win,” Salvador said. “Our team played really well the whole night, and we obviously didn’t get discouraged when we gave up two quick power-play goals. There’s a lot of character on this team to pull this one off.”
The Devils had to overcome a 2-1 deficit in the second period after New York scored twice on Colin White’s five-minute major for boarding Sean Bergenheim. Zach Parise notched a power-play tally on New Jersey’s only shot of the middle frame, and Salvador’s wrister from the left point restored the Devils’ lead in the third.
“I just wanted to throw it on the net and hopefully something was going to happen there, and it went in,” Salvador said after netting his third of the year and second game-winner.
Langenbrunner also scored, ending a nine-game goal drought. Parise added an empty-netter for his second of the night with 45.1 seconds to go.
Martin Brodeur made 20 saves to record his League-leading 31st win of the year, as the Devils topped the Islanders for the third time in four meetings this season. It was New Jersey’s first victory at Nassau Coliseum since Jan. 17, 2009, ending a streak of three straight losses. Rick DiPietro, who shut out the Devils on Monday, made 24 saves.
Salvador wasn’t sure that Brodeur saw the puck on the Islanders’ second goal. Jack Hillen’s shot hit the right post and sat in the crease. Salvador reached for it with his stick as Brodeur tried to cover it with his catching glove.
“I was going to whack it, and he did see it and was going to put his glove on it,” Salvador said. “I think I’ll remember that one as a good lesson. When you’ve got the best goalie in the world, give him a couple extra seconds and there’s a good chance he’ll probably cover it.”
Brodeur gave Salvador a pat on the back after the goal, which was credited to Hillen.
“Mistakes are made – not even a question of mistakes, they’re reactions,” Brodeur said. “For me, it’s important to stay close to my players. In a situation like that, it does no good to start yelling or to give the cold shoulder. We had to kill another two, three minutes of the penalty.”
The Devils (34-15-1) have now taken two of their last three and will hit the road for Ottawa on Tuesday, Buffalo on Wednesday. Jersey’s Team increased its Atlantic Division lead to six points over idle Pittsburgh, and halted the Islanders’ home winning streak at six games.
Head coach Jacques Lemaire thought the right call was made on White, who hit Bergenheim along the boards near the scorer’s table at 9:15 of the second.
“We deserved it,” Lemaire said. “It was a thing the defenseman should have known. The player had his back turned. I totally agree with the call.”
Lemaire did take issue with the faceoff just before Kyle Okposo scored New York’s first power-play goal, when he felt the Islanders got away with interference. Fortunately, the Devils were able to rally.
“We came back, kept our poise and played the same way for three periods,” he said. “This is a huge win for us. It’s a team win.”
New Jersey opened the scoring in the first period with Langenbrunner’s 14th of the year.
Travis Zajac fed Langenbrunner’s one-timer from the right circle at 5:52, setting up the captain’s first goal since his hat trick at Minnesota on Jan. 2.
The Devils dominated the first by a 13-5 shots count, and survived a pair of Islanders goal posts. Mark Streit tipped an Okposo feed off the right elbow at 2:57. Trent Hunter’s redirection on the power play caught the right iron at 9:08.
Richard Park hit another post for New York in the first four minutes of the second period. He collected a Dean McAmmond turnover for a backhander that rang off the left iron.
Later in the second, after the Islanders had gone ahead, 2-1, McAmmond missed the net on a shorthanded breakaway with a minute left in White's major.
Parise's 22nd knotted the contest with 32 seconds left in the second, with the Devils’ only shot of the period. New Jersey was outshot, 14-1, in the frame.
With Bruno Gervais off for hooking, Parise flipped out of the left corner toward a breaking Nick Palmieri in the slot. The puck caromed off an Islander and into the top right corner of the cage, ending New Jersey's 0-for-23 spell with the man advantage.
At first, it looked to be Palmieri’s first NHL goal.
“I was actually looking for Greener (Andy Greene),” Parise said. “I saw him coming down the far side and I thought Palmieri put it in. Me and Jamie asked him if he wanted the puck. We were going to go grab it because we thought he put it in and he said he didn’t. Nice to get a bounce in our favor tonight.”
Parise’s tally had the Devils even, 2-2, heading into the third.
“It was nice to go into the third tied after that tough second with a lot of penalty killing and giving up two power-play goals,” he said. “It was nice to come in tied at least.”
Parise put his team-leading 23rd into an empty net to seal it in the final minute of the third. New Jersey outshot the Islanders, 14-3, in the period.
"To me, especially in our situation when we have six regular players out of the lineup, and we were struggling for wins, I think it's huge," said Lemaire.
1 - 0 NJD
1 - 1 Tie