Scott Gomez scored with 1:20 left in overtime to lift the Devils to a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday night in a game that featured a wild finish in regulation.
Patrik Elias took the puck in the Islanders zone, drew a defenceman down, and passed up to Gomez, who slid the puck on the short side past Rick DiPietro for his eighth goal.
“That was all Patty. I just stood there,” Gomez said. “He faked everybody, and slid it right up to me.”
Elias said he wanted to shoot initially, but circumstances dictated otherwise.
“I wanted to take the shot, and I saw (DiPietro) come out,” Elias said. “I faked the shot, and he came out further, so I saw Scotty open and gave it to him.”
John Madden beat DiPietro with 74 seconds left in regulation to give New Jersey a 1-0 lead. Madden took a drop pass from Sergei Brylin and beat DiPietro high to the stick side with a clear shot.
“Sergei gave me a great pass and ran a little bit of a screen,” Madden said. “I was just trying to shoot behind him. I don’t think DiPietro ever saw the puck.”
Miroslav Satan tied the score with 0.7 seconds left on a tip-in against Martin Brodeur, while the Islanders were on their second power play of the game. It was Satan’s 13th goal this season, and just his third in his last 13 games.
“At first, I didn’t see the puck coming,” Satan said. “It was just an instant play. I saw it hit off the post and go in.”
Brodeur finished with 27 saves and was less than one second away from back-to-back shutouts at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
“Everybody was moving up, and Satan got behind people,” Brodeur said. “It hit off me and then off the post and went in. I turned around, and saw the green light on, which usually means the red light can’t go on. But I also saw the red lights on, and figured it was (a goal). I saw all those lights on at the same time and knew we were on the road.”
Brodeur said that this was probably the latest he ever gave up a goal in regulation.
“I remember my first year in the league that I gave up a goal in Montreal with two or three seconds left,” Brodeur said. “This was before they started timing things in tenths of a second. I wish we could just go back to full seconds.”
The Devils weren’t shaken at all when the Islanders tied it up just before the final horn.
“We have the best goaltender in the world, so we were just thinking that we’d win in overtime or in the shootout,” Gomez said. “Just grab the back of your pants and move forward.”
DiPietro finished with 28 saves as the Islanders lost their third straight at home.
Islanders coach Ted Nolan was happy with the way his team played, despite the loss.
“That was a huge goal that Miro scored for us to get a point,” Nolan said. “We have to look at the positives as much as we can. This was a typical game against New Jersey. It wasn’t a very entertaining game – it was kind of like watching a chess match.”
DiPietro’s toughest chances were back-to-back shots from Brian Gionta and Gomez in the scoreless first period.
Brodeur had help from the post as Arron Asham’s tip try rang off the iron nine minutes in.
DiPietro stopped Gomez with a pad save towards the end of the scoreless second period, as New Jersey was stopped on three power-play chances.
Again, DiPietro came up big in the final period, as he stopped Zach Parise’s point-blank snap shot off a defensive turnover with 11 minutes left.
Notes: Since a mid-December losing streak, the Devils have only had two games where they didn’t register a point in the standings (11-2-2). Three of those wins came against the Islanders. … Jason Blake is the lone Islanders representative who will head to Dallas for the All-Star Game, while Brodeur and defenceman Brian Rafalski will go for the Devils. … Islanders defenceman Freddy Meyer played his first home game since he was traded for Alexei Zhitnik on Dec. 16. Meyer was out 10 games with a back injury, and his first three games in an Islander uniform were all on the road. …The Islanders will wear a replica of their 1972 blue uniforms when they host Buffalo on Jan. 27. The jerseys will feature orange numbers on the back and sleeves.