NEWARK, N.J. – This time, the New York Islanders got a couple of lucky breaks on the road.
Michael Grabner snapped a tie with a short-handed goal and the Islanders beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 on Saturday for their first road win of the season.
“Our guys battled. They battled the last nine periods,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “We did get some breaks tonight. It takes a few breaks to win a game. I’m just glad they got the two points.”
Matt Moulson and Josh Bailey also scored for New York, which earned its third victory this month and improved to 1-5-2 on the road. Al Montoya had 24 saves.
Adam Larsson and Adam Henrique scored for New Jersey. Martin Brodeur made 23 saves.
The Islanders led 2-1 before Henrique sent a backhander past Montoya’s outstretched glove 3:59 into the third.
Grabner responded two minutes later when poked the puck away from Ilya Kovalchuk in the defensive zone and snapped his seventh goal of the season over Brodeur’s glove while Bailey was in the penalty box for hooking. Grabner’s first short-handed goal of the season came at 5:51.
“It’s nice to get the one,” Grabner said of his game winner after noting he was on the ice for both of New Jersey’s goals. “I think we created some offence on the PK but it’s just good that we killed off the penalty.”
Kovalchuk alternated between brilliance and foolishness. He assisted on both Devils goals but also was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct with 5:40 remaining.
Kovalchuk had been clipped by John Tavares’ stick and complained loudly when a penalty was not called. The Devils star eventually was assessed the two-minute minor.
“They missed that one for sure,” Kovalchuk said of the unpenalized high stick.
Zach Parise nearly tied it with two seconds left but the apparent goal was disallowed after a video review. Parise whacked at Montoya’s glove to free the puck and replays showed the New Jersey captain may have kicked the puck in the goal.
Parise shouted at referees Dave Jackson and Kelly Sutherland immediately after the final horn sounded.
“It definitely hit my skate but is that a kicking motion? I definitely don’t think it was,” Parise said later. “Of course I was angry and then they make the wrong call.”
Added Devils coach Peter DeBoer: “I watched the play (and) I’m not sure I agree with the decision based on my view of the replays. To me, it wasn’t what I would consider a distinct kicking motion.”
Moulson opened the scoring 11:28 into the game with his seventh goal of the season. Linemate P.A. Parenteau skated up the right wing boards before feathering a centring pass to Moulson in the right face-off circle. Moulson then snapped a shot over Brodeur’s glove.
Larsson’s second goal of the season tied it 4:20 into the second. The rookie defenceman snapped a shot over Montoya from the high slot after Henrique won a battle for a puck in the defensive zone.
Bailey’s second goal of the year gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead at 11:59 of the second period. David Ullstrom dislodged the net as Bailey’s shot sailed into the goal, but the score was allowed after a review.
Brodeur kept the deficit at 2-1 with spectacular glove and stacked pad saves on Grabner and Kyle Okposo with 38 seconds left in the second. He gloved Grabner’s wrist shot but could not control it as he tumbled to the ice. Okposo jumped on the loose puck but Brodeur threw his legs into the air to stop the ensuing shot.
Despite the brilliant sequence, Brodeur focused on what went wrong on Grabner’s goal.
“I was looking at my stick and didn’t see Kovy go in front of me. I wasn’t ready to challenge Grabner,” Brodeur said. “Two mistakes, I guess.”
The teams had 26 shots apiece. Neither team was able to capitalize on the power play; New York went 0 for 2, while New Jersey was 0 for 3.
NOTES: Grabner had six short-handed goals last year. … Nino Niederreiter was scratched for the third straight game. The New York right winger tweeted during the first intermission that he “didn’t know” in response to tweets he received regarding why he has not played. Capuano was asked for his response to Niederreiter’s tweet but an Islanders spokesman interrupted and said the organization would “deal with it later.” … New York entered the game 30th in goals per game (1.90) and 29th in goals against (3.25). … New Jersey now will go on the road for four games. … The announced attendance was 16,014. … Parise has not scored a goal since November 16.