Devils Move Closer To Playoff Spot With 3-2 OT Win
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Anssi Salmela scored his first goal of the season 3:09 into overtime to keep the New Jersey Devils’ playoff drive another boost with a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Salmela took a feed from Mattias Tedenby and drilled a shot past Al Montoya as the Devils improved to 22-3-2 in their last 27 games. New Jersey had trailed 2-1 in the third period before rallying.
Jacob Josefson had his first NHL goal and David Clarkson also scored, and Martin Brodeur made 13 saves for the Devils.
Blake Comeau and John Tavares scored for New York, which got 32 saves from Montoya. The Islanders are 4-0-3 in their last seven as they try to remain on the fringe of the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Devils have played nine straight one-goal games and won in overtime for the second consecutive night. Travis Zajac scored the decisive goal Friday at Atlanta in another 3-2 victory. New Jersey, 12th in the East, moved within six points of the postseason cutoff.
New York is nine points back in 14th place.
Josefson opened the scoring 1:57 in with a hustle goal. Clarkson tipped the puck into the Islanders zone with Josefson in pursuit. Josefson skated behind the New York net, shook off defenseman Bruno Gervais, and came out the other side to bank in a sharp-angle shot off Montoya’s skate.
Josefson, the Devils’ first-round selection in the 2009 draft, missed 30 games early this season with a hand injury.
New Jersey had several opportunities to expand the lead in the first five minutes but Montoya held his ground, especially when Ilya Kovalchuk had a couple of swipes at a loose puck at the goal mouth.
At the other end, the Devils again went into first-period shutdown mode. They limited the Islanders to only 3 shots, extending their modern NHL record to 16 straight games without allowing a goal in the opening period.
The Devils finished with eight shots and carried a 1-0 lead into the break.
New Jersey started the second period on the power play, and Brian Rolston almost connected but his hard shot was gloved by Montoya, who was sprawled on the ice.
The momentum then shifted toward the Islanders.
Jack Hillen blocked Kovalchuk’s shot, pushing the puck ahead to Comeau, who burst into the Devils zone. He eluded the backchecking Rolston before dragging the puck across the slot and whipping a backhander past Brodeur at 1:13.
New York had the better of the play the rest of the period. Brodeur made a sparkling glove save on Michael Grabner to preserve the deadlock 6:42 into the period.
Just 4 seconds later, Tavares put New York ahead 2-1 by deflecting Andrew MacDonald’s point shot past Brodeur.
In the third, Brodeur stopped Grabner again, this time on a short-handed breakaway. It turned into a key play as Clarkson scored shortly after to pull the Devils even at 5:42 — 4 seconds after the power play expired. Clarkson jammed the puck home after Montoya failed to corral a rebound.
The Devils outshot the Islanders 15-6 in the third period and 32-15 through regulation.
New Jersey had the only three shots in overtime, too.
Notes: Travis Zajac played in his 387th consecutive game for the Devils, one shy of the club record held by Ken Daneyko (Nov. 4, 1989-March 29, 1994). … The Islanders and Devils will meet once more this season, March 30 in New Jersey.