View Full Version : Islanders back on track: Beat Devils 5-4

12-16-03, 10:53 PM
Big win for The Isles tonight. Gonna keep this momentum up for Thursday's game versus The Rangers! Great, gritty win tonight by The Islanders.


Isles Solve Brodeur, Pick Up Huge Win
Islanders 5, Devils 4
By Kerry Gwydir

(Dec. 16) Martin Brodeur had a three-game shutout streak against the Islanders going into this match. Not only did the Islanders pot five behind the New Jersey netminder, Steve Stirling's team came up with a heroic effort against the Stanley Cup Champs with a 5-4 win on Tuesday night. It was the first win over the Devils at the Coliseum since April 1, 2002 -- a span of seven contests.

A wild 30-second span 14 minutes into the third period was capped off when Alexei Yashin rifled home a loose puck behind Brodeur, which turned out to be the eventual game-winner. The goal was Yashin fifth in his last six contests as Oleg Kvasha started the play by doodling through three Devils before throwing the puck toward the cage. Devils' defender Colin White got a piece of the puck, which went right to Yashin for the one-timer.

Just 13 seconds prior to that, Sergei Brylin deadlocked the contest as he banged home a powerplay goal at the 5:48 mark with Janne Niinimaa in the penalty box. Yet, 17 ticks before that, Jason Blake broke a 4-4 tie as he converted a Kvasha feed for a shorthanded tally.

In the early going, the Isles had chances to score. But it was the visitors who took control in the opener. Kvasha posted the first superb chance to crack Brodeur's dominance over the Isles two minutes into the game off a rush initiated by Mariusz Czerkawski. The right wing feathered a one-time opportunity in the slot for Kvasha, who was left unchecked. Kvasha, however, missed the net wide right with his blast.

But it was former Islander first rounder Mike Rupp to get the scoring rolling in this game as he scored just 5:52 into the game. The Islanders actually won a defensive end draw by Justin Mapletoft to begin this sequence. But Niinimaa mishandled the puck along the boards, allowing Grant Marshall and Scott Gomez to grind the puck out and find Rupp unchecked in the slot for the one-time connection behind Garth Snow.

The same Islander defensive pairing was burned by Rupp again four minutes later to increase the New Jersey lead. Rupp started the play by hitting Marshall down the right wing with a break-out feed. As he stepped over the blueline, Eric Cairns attempted to take away the Devil's space. Instead, Marshall found Brian Rafalski pinching in, and Niinimaa tried to step up on the New Jersey defenseman and dropped to the ice. Quickly, Rafalski feathered a feed into the slot to Rupp, again unchecked on the doorstep, to pot his fifth of the season over Snow's right shoulder.

Michael Peca got one back for the Islanders and broke a 201-minute scoreless streak vs. Brodeur. Adrian Aucoin kept alive a loose puck that appeared to be leaving the offensive zone by kicking it deep, where Trent Hunter pinged the disc towards the net. The Islander captain beat Scott Niedermayer to the front of the cage where he re-directed the puck through Brodeur's wickets at the 12:46 mark.

The Isles came out quickly in the second period and tied the game 23 seconds in off a Kenny Jonsson blast from the blueline. Peca initiated the sequence and notched his second point of the evening as he won an offensive draw back to Jonsson, who beat Brodeur low to his glove side. It was the defenseman's first goal of the season and his first in 45 games.

Although the Isles kept the pressure on Brodeur in the early parts of the second, they were victimized by a giveaway in the offensive end of the ice. Czerkawski attempted to hit a charging Roman Hamrlik in the slot, but instead threw the puck behind the pinching defender and put the puck into center ice. New Jersey's John Madden's was then off on a breakaway and beat Snow by going top-shelf with a wrist shot to put the Devils back up by a goal.

Midway through the period, the Isles received their third powerplay of the game when the Devils' Eric Rasmussen was called by high-sticking. Stirling's powerplay unit went right to work and quickly tied the game for the second time in the period. The Isles immediately started to cycle the puck, which quickly turned into a game of catch between Hunter and Hamrlik. After a few passes back and forth between the two, Hamrlik set Hunter up in the high slot where the rookie blasted a slapshot past the Devils' netminder for his 12th goal of the season. Hamrlik and Yashin were credited with the assists as Hunter now leads NHL rookies in scoring.

With Czerkawski in the box in the final four minutes of the middle stanza, Snow made the two biggest stops of the game. He first denied Brylin of an open net try off a 2-on-0 down low. Then, as his team continued to scramble around, Snow stepped up with another stop on another sure goal. This time, it was Patrik Elias the victim when the Devil sniper had the right side of the net to shoot at and the goaltender facing the other way. Somehow, Snow dove around and threw out his trapper to glove the scoring opportunity.

The Islanders travel to Madison Square Garden for an important tilt with the Rangers that will be broadcast nationally at 8pm on ESPN. Both teams are tied for the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference.