UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The New York Islanders finally remember what it feels like to win, and it happened just in time.
Rick DiPietro turned aside all 29 shots he faced and the Islanders ended a 14-game winless streak by shutting out the New Jersey Devils 2-0 on Friday. New York barely avoided matching the club record of 15 games without a win, set from Nov. 22-Dec. 23, 1999.
“It’s like a big weight was taken off our shoulders,” Islanders centre John Tavares said. “It was a great job by the penalty killers, and a great job by Ricky.
Jesse Joensuu and Rob Schremp scored for the Islanders, who are 1-11-3 in their last 15 games since Oct 21. The loss ended New Jersey’s modest two-game winning streak.
The win was the first for Islanders coach Jack Capuano since taking over for the fired Scott Gordon last week. Capuano had been coaching the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, and went 0-2-2 in his first four games after taking over the NHL franchise.
“I was happy for the guys,” Capuano said. “We’ve worked very hard lately, and it’s nice to get rewarded.”
Johan Hedberg was in net for the Devils and stopped 18 shots.
The Devils won four of six meetings last season, but lost two out of three at Nassau Coliseum. This was the first of six meetings this season.
The Islanders jumped ahead 1-0 just 92 seconds into the game when smart passing by Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen set up Joensuu for his first goal of the season.
That was the only goal in the opening period, one which saw the Islanders take 13 of the 18 shots over that 20 minute span.
The Islanders pushed their lead to 2-0 at 5:15 of the second period when Schremp buried a wrist shot past Hedberg for his second goal of the season.
Meanwhile, DiPietro was having a fairly mellow day, turning aside all 16 shots he faced in the first 40 minutes.
NOTES: The Islanders’ Trent Hunter (left knee injury) is one goal away from 100 in his NHL career. … The Islanders had lost five straight at home. … After playing 12 of their first 17 games on the road, the Islanders are now in a stretch where they play 10 of 14 at Nassau Coliseum. … The Devils have lost four straight on the road.