UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Johan Hedburg and the New Jersey Devils had little trouble with the New York Islanders’ sputtering offence.
Petr Sykora had a goal and Hedberg made 23 saves to earn his second shutout of the season and the 19th of his NHL career in leading the Devils to a 1-0 win over the Islanders on Friday.
Sykora scored with a snapshot during a power play with 5:47 remaining in the second period.
“I thought we played a very solid team game,” Hedberg said. “The penalty kill was outstanding. We stuck to our game plan.”
New Jersey has won four of its last six games. New York has lost four in a row. In that stretch, the Islanders have been outscored 16-3 and have been shutout in three of the four losses.
“How would you think?” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said in response to the Islanders’ frustration level. “We had three power plays right off the bat and didn’t get many shots to the net. They might have had more shots on the PK than we did on our power play.”
Sykora’s power-play goal was his fifth of the season. He snapped a bullet from the slot over Al Montoya’s glove from the slot.
“Power-play shot from the point, breaks a stick and (puck) lands on one of the most lethal guys in the league for a long time. Put in a great spot. Good goal,” Montoya said. “You hope to have that shot, but if he puts it in the right place, I’m all right with (allowing that goal).”
Montoya, who had missed New York’s last six games, started in goal for the Islanders and finished with 22 saves, including a spectacular pad save on Zach Parise’s first period semi-breakaway that kept the game scoreless.
However, Montoya’s teammates did not generate much in terms of quality scoring chances despite matching New Jersey with 23 shots on goal. The Devils clogged the neutral zone. When New York gained entry into the offensive zone, New Jersey forced the Islanders to play on the periphery. The Devils also blocked 21 shots.
“We did a lot of good things tonight,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “Blocked shots, got pucks out when we needed too (and were) solid through the neutral zone.
“It’s nice to get the win. I thought we deserved it.”
Michael Grabner had New York’s two best chances to score, both occurring in the third period.
Grabner lost the puck on a breakaway in which he deked Hedberg out of position after taking it away from New Jersey rookie defenceman Adam Larsson six minutes into the third.
Grabner was granted a penalty shot with 6:50 remaining in the game after being pulled down on a breakaway. But Hedberg made a left pad save on the backhand attempt.
“Everyone saw what happened. I didn’t score. It’s not just penalty or breakaway, had open chances and I have to find a way to score at least one. First one, he dove out—tried to poke check me—and I just couldn’t get (it) behind (him). Second one I had something else in mind and just tried to shoot it backhand,” Grabner said after a post-game treatment session.
“It’s definitely frustrating. I think we’re getting chances. I don’t know what to do … just got to find a way to get one by him. It seems we’re getting a little tight and just try too hard to get it in.”
New Jersey was 1-for-2 on the power play while New York went 0 for 4.
Notes: Calgary claimed former Islanders’ left wing Blake Comeau off of waivers Friday morning. The Islanders had placed Comeau on waivers Thursday. Comeau had not recorded a point and was minus-11 in 16 games with New York. … New York and New Jersey will complete their home-and-home series Saturday at the Prudential Center. … New Jersey scratched Mark Fraser and Rod Pelley. New York scratched Marty Reasoner and Nino Niederreiter. … The Islanders wore their black sweaters. … The announced attendance was 15,358.