UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The Devils were hampered by a slow start, and by the time they had picked up their game, it was too little, too late.
Rick DiPietro made 29 saves for the New York Islanders, who received goals from Jesse Joensuu and Rob Schremp to top the Devils, 2-0, on Friday.
New Jersey outshot the host Islanders, 13-1, in the third period, but couldn't solve DiPietro, who registered his first shutout since blanking the Devils, 4-0, on Jan. 18.
The Devils (7-14-2) saw their first winning streak of the season snapped at two games and dropped their fourth straight on the road. The Islanders (5-12-5) ended a 14-game winless skid with their first victory since Oct. 21.
Down by a pair in the final frame, the Devils misfired on 58 seconds of a 5-on-3 man advantage.
“We put a burst on, but the Islanders are a young team, they worked hard,” head coach John MacLean said. “They outworked us, and they deserved to win. You can’t expect to play 20 minutes and think that you’re going to get a win, and we didn’t.”
Dylan Reese had been in the box for 1:02 when James Wisniewski was slapped with a double-minor for high-sticking Mattias Tedenby.
We can't down on ourselves and we can't get negative about it. We have to keep going, keep pushing forward.- Jason Arnott
A one-timer by Jason Arnott missed the net when his stick broke during the two-man advantage. He had another shot blocked by Mark Eaton. New Jersey finished 0-for-3 on the power play and fell to 1-for-42 with the man advantage on the road.
“It was horrible,” MacLean said. “We had one good look at it. We put the guys out there; our best players are all out there, and they don’t get it done. You can draw up plays and everything like that, but unless the execution is there, it’s not going to happen unless they put their minds to doing what’s best for everybody and not what’s best for themselves.”
Arnott, the Devils' leading goal scorer, called it a "golden opportunity."
"I have to be better than that, and hit the net there to give our guys a chance for a rebound," Arnott said. "It's disappointing, and I'm disappointed in myself, as well. You don't get too many opportunities like that to get a good one-timer."
Johan Hedberg made 18 saves. New Jersey hosts the rival Philadelphia Flyers for a 1 p.m. matinee on Saturday.
"Very frustrating, but we have to reload," said Hedberg, who had allowed one goal in his previous two outings. "There’s 20 hours until next puck drop and that’s going to be another huge one. We can’t dwell on it too long. We have to learn from it, I guess, and move on."
Losing to the League's worst team was frustrating for a Devils group that looked to have turned a corner with strong efforts in three straight games.
"It shouldn’t be about them, it should be about us building on the two games that we won and get a three-game winning streak," Patrik Elias said. "It doesn’t matter who you play, it doesn’t matter if you play the Islanders or, tomorrow, we play the Flyers, who’s the best team in the East right now. We have to trust each other here and just go out there and just initiate the game. When we do that, it doesn’t matter who we play against, we play well."
But it doesn't fully negate the positive trend the club had been on.
"It's disappointing," Elias said. "It doesn't matter who lose to. It's disappointing because you don't take advantage of playing a team that's not playing well. You have to do that."
The Devils trailed 1-0 after a first period in which they were outshot, 13-5. Joensuu opened the scoring for New York, placing a one-timer past Hedberg 1:32 into the game.
The penalty kill was tested after Colin White’s boarding major on PA Parenteau left them shorthanded for three minutes. Following the hit, White was challenged by Bruno Gervais and dropped the Islanders’ defenseman with a roundhouse right. In addition to both receiving fighting majors at 11:49, Gervais was slapped with a minor for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct.
In the second, Schremp staked the Islanders to their first two-goal lead since Oct. 16. Blake Comeau’s centering pass from the left wall found Schremp at the bottom of the right circle. Schremp scored on a sharp-angle shot to make it 2-0 at 5:15.
Tedenby came within inches of putting the Devils on the board late in the second. He fired a Mark Fayne rebound across the netmouth and off the left post with 1:47 to go.
Quotes and Notes Ilya Kovalchuk, who had four shots in the game: "We didn't start well tonight but we got some good opportunities. I think we were working hard and it's just one of those nights. DiPietro played really well and he kept them in the game." … The Devils are 3-7-1 in their last 11 trips to Long Island.
1 - 0 NYI
2 - 0 NYI
Misconduct (10 min)
Misconduct (10 min)
Interference on goalkeeper
Hi stick - double minor