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(Saturday, March 29th)
Final Score: NY Islanders 2, New Jersey 1 (SO)
Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Frans Nielsen and Brock Nelson each scored in the first two rounds as the New York Islanders extended the New Jersey Devils' NHL-record shootout losing streak with a 2-1 decision at Nassau Coliseum.
Anders Nilsson turned aside both skaters he faced during the deciding phase to help deal the Devils a 14th consecutive defeat in shootouts, with 10 of those setbacks taking place this season.
"I don't have an answer for the shootout," Devils head coach Peter DeBoer said. "From a coaching perspective, if your forecheck's not working or your D- zone coverage or your power play, you can break it down and make corrections. [The shootout] is a different animal. For whatever reason, we've got a block."
The loss may also have been a blow to New Jersey's playoff hopes, as the Devils now trail both Columbus and Detroit by five points for the two wild- card spots in the Eastern Conference after those teams each won Saturday.
"We've got to move forward and find a way to get a win," DeBoer said. "It does no good sitting, wallowing in what happened here tonight. We get ready for a big game on Monday night."
Nielsen also had the Islanders' lone regulation goal, while Nilsson came up with 23 saves prior to going 2-for-2 in the shootout.
Adam Henrique accounted for the Devils' only marker, with Cory Schneider recording 19 saves in the loss.
New Jersey, which last prevailed in a shootout on March 15, 2013 against Philadelphia, found itself quickly behind in the final segment when Nielsen opened it up by ripping a backhander over Schneider's glove.
Nilsson then stopped Henrique's attempt with his left blocker before Nelson slipped a shot between Schneider's pads to put the Devils in a do-or-die situation. Nilsson ended it by deflecting away Patrik Elias' try and denying the Devils a much-needed two points.
"They're not gonna quit," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said of his players. "It's a reflection of the guys that we have in that room. "They've got a tremendous work ethic, they've got tremendous character and no matter how much ice time an individual gets, they're very supportive of one another."
After the teams battled to a scoreless opening period, the Islanders surged ahead early the second by virtue of an own goal by the Devils' Peter Harrold. The New Jersey defenseman's ill-advised clearing attempt after Nielsen was knocked off the puck following a rush up the ice wound up going through Schneider's legs 2:12 into the middle session.
New Jersey drew even just past the midway mark of the second. Nilsson stopped Henrique at the end of a 2-on-2 rush with Damien Brunner, but the Devils forward was left all alone to knock in a loose rebound and knot the score at 1-1.
Neither side mounted much of an offensive threat during a tightly played third period that saw just 10 shots combined, but Nilsson brought about the shootout with four sharp saves during the five-minute overtime.
The Islanders improved to 7-5 in shootouts, while Nielsen has gone 7-for-12 in those situations ... New York played without leading scorer Kyle Okposo for a second straight game due to a lower-body injury, while captain Bryce Salvador (groin) and fellow defenseman Anton Volchenkov (lower body) both remained out for New Jersey ... The Devils had outscored the Islanders by an 8-2 margin in winning each of their two previous trips to Nassau Coliseum this season ... New Jersey dropped to 4-22-8 this season when giving up the game's first goal.
03/29 23:14:21 ET