Three times in the calendar year, and twice this season, Martin Brodeur and the Devils shut out the Islanders and skated off with victories. That all changed Tuesday night.
New Jersey was 6-0-1 with four shutouts in its last seven games
against New York, outscoring the Islanders 27-7 in the process --
including a 1-0 overtime victory last week.
But the Devils couldn't hold leads of 2-0 and 3-2 and Brodeur
allowed all five goals on 28 shots. New Jersey had gone 204 minutes, 38
seconds since giving up an Islanders' goal.
"It's nice to play those 1-0 games, but this was fun. It was an
exciting game also, just a little different," Brodeur said.
The Devils tied it 4-4 when Sergei Brylin scored a power-play
tally just 17 seconds after Blake gave the Islanders their first
lead with a short-handed goal.
Blake put New York ahead with 6:05 left, and Yashin scored at
14:25. The Islanders are 4-0-0-1 since a seven-game losing streak
and took three of four points from the Stanley Cup champion Devils
in a six-day span.
"We've had a good start to December, and we have to sustain
it," Peca said.
"Every time we seemed to get an edge, they came out harder,"
Hunter tied it at 3 for the Islanders with his team-leading 12th
goal, scored during a power play, at 9:37 of the second.
"It was huge for our hockey club, especially the way it's been
going against the Devils," Hunter said. "It shows the heart and
character of the team. We didn't get down and kept working hard."
New Jersey held New York without a shot for the first 7½ minutes
and led 2-0 when Rupp scored two goals 2:51 apart in the opening
period on the Devils' third and fourth shots.
Rupp, who scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Devils
last season, has five goals this season and three in two games.
Just 14 seconds after the Islanders recorded their first shot,
Peca brought them within 2-1 with his fourth of the season -- his first into a tended net since Oct. 20.
"If we were able to keep them at 2-0 after one period, I think
we would've been all right," Brodeur said. "I think it definitely
got them some momentum."
Peca got his stick on a shot by Hunter, and the puck trickled in
with 7:14 left in the first.
"I felt good with my game the last few weeks, so it's not a
burden," Peca said. "I had chances over the last couple of weeks,
and I knew that some would eventually go in."
He set up Jonsson's tying goal 23 seconds into the middle period
when he won a faceoff in the New Jersey zone. Jonsson sent a long
shot that beat Brodeur, who appeared screened by Peca, for his
first of the season.
"I thought we played hard; they just had a lot of good
bounces," Brodeur said. "They shot a lot of pucks through screens
that found their way into the net."
Madden missed the key home-and-home series against Philadelphia
when the Devils took three of a possible four points from the
NHL-leading Flyers. He returned from a facial injury and was the
beneficiary of a gift from Islanders forward Mariusz Czerkawski.
Czerkawski made a hard pass across the Devils zone that missed
its target and caromed out. Madden jumped on the puck and skated in
alone on Garth Snow, firing a shot that tipped the goalie's glove
on the way in to make it 3-2 at 4:43.
Snow finished with 29 saves.
Rupp also scored twice against Philadelphia on Oct. 30. ...
The Islanders' goalless streak against New Jersey is a team record
against one opponent. New York was blanked by Detroit for 202
minutes between Dec. 2, 1972, and Feb. 24, 1973. ... Peca has
scored in two straight games. He had two empty-net tallies since
his last score against a goalie. ... Devils RW Turner Stevenson has
an infection resulting from surgery and not a groin tear as was
feared. He is out indefinitely. RW Jamie Langenbrunner (knee) is
expected to resume skating within 10 days.