Tonight closes out the season series between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils. The Devils would look to gain 2 more points to help aid the cushion between themselves and the 7th placed Ottawa Senators. New York is a very dangerous team this time of year, considering their role in the playoff picture as a spoiler. The Islanders being officially eliminated Saturday in a loss to Boston followed up by another loss Sunday to the 7th seeded Sens, New York would be itching for a late season victory against a team which they've had some success against throughout the season. The Devils would continue their powerplay goal streak tonight when Travis Zajac scored in the middle period, extending that streak to 3 games with a PPG.
In my opinion, the most exciting period of play in the game, unfortunately, since the rest of the game to me, was a bit on the slow side. Johan Hedberg would get the call from coach Pete DeBoer as he'd be the Devils starting goaltender, presumably leaving the next two games open for Marty Brodeur. It wouldn't take long for the scoreboard to light up; New Jersey's Patrik Elias would put the Dev's on top early on passes recieved from linemate Petr Sykora and defenseman Mark Fayne. Shortly following the goal, the Isles would stirke for a goal of their own. Arguably the league's best top line would produce a rebound goal scored by Islanders forward Matt Moulson. Moulson collected his 35th goal of the year on a backhander from in front of the cage, beating Moose with nearly 16 minutes left to play. Islanders captain Mark Streit and John Tavares would recieve a point each for primary and secondary assists on the lone marker for New York in the game. Action wouldn't pick back up until the middle of the period when a scrum broke out following a hit assessed by Devils enforecer Cam Jannsen on an Islander in the corner which would wind up being the causing factor for the scuffle. Micheal Hailey of New York rushed Jannsen in open ice, tossing his gloves to the playing surface, initiating the fight between the two brawlers. In the wake of the fight, New Jersey would be assessed the powerplay opportunity on an unsportsmanlike conduct call issued to Hailey for approaching Cam. The penalty would be killed off resulting in no shots for New Jersey. Before the period's final horn would sound, a closing second penalty would send Islander Marty Reasoner to the sin bin for a deuce for hooking Bryce Salvador with 6 seconds left on the clock. The penalty would carry over.
With a carry over powerplay opportunity for New Jersey and the game tied one goal a piece, this man advantage would have to be a good one if the team wanted a chance of gaining momentum through the last 40 minutes of play; sure enough, it was! Travis Zajac only 22 seconds into the period would break the tie scoring on the powerplay for New Jersey putting them up 2-1 on the rather sluggish Isles. Zajac's goal was assisted by Parise, playing in his 500th career game as well as Elias. Scoring for the period would conclude there and would be on hold until the 3rd period of play for the teams.
In arguable one of the most boring periods of hockey I've been witness to this season, the Devils would manage to stave off a comeback from the Islanders, and, really, it was exceptionally easy to do. New York had 4 shots in the period. The Devils and Islanders would move up and down the ice essentially care free. No legitmate opportunities presented by either club, the Devils taking no penalties with a late period empty net glaring down ice at them. Islanders Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo were both credited with 10 minute misconduct penalties at 19:05 as well as Okposo getting an additional 2 minute minor tacked on for unsportsmanlike conduct, also at 19:05; the 2min minor would be served by Nino Niederreiter. With the Isles on the attack, and a big save made by Moose with the right pad to prevent the tie, a trip up by Isles captain Streit would result in a turnover leading to Ilya Kovalchuk adding a little salt in the wound, putting Jersey's Team up 3-1 with the empty net goal, Kovy's 35th of the year. New Jersey increased its win streak to 4 games after defeating the Isles in Newark.
New Jersey will hit up Detroit on the road Thursday night in the teams final road game of the regular season before returning home for a Saturday matinee against Ottawa. With the win, the Devils increase their point total, now reaching 98 for the year with 2 games remaining meaning they can finish off the year on a 6 game win streak and reaching a grand total of 102pts by seasons end. Be sure to check our site again tomorrow evening after the Devils Flyers game. To hear the latest Devils information, be sure to follow us on twitter at @RWTDblog@DEVIN88MATTERA @RealScottRobb and our newest writer @Rvaidya33 and you can like us on our facebook page! From all of us here at Running With The Devils, singing off until the playoffs begin, I'm Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans.