The New York Islanders try to extend their solid start to the season on Sunday afternoon with a second victory over the New Jersey Devils in four days.
The Islanders have recorded a 4-2-1 record through their first seven games and have picked up two straight victories over divisional opponents. They are in the midst of playing five straight games against Atlantic Division residents as they will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday before visiting the New York Rangers two days later.
The Isles followed up an overtime loss with Tuesday's 4-1 victory at Pittsburgh and then recorded a 5-4 overtime triumph at New Jersey on Thursday. Brad Boyes had the winner 2:01 into the extra frame, converting on a power play that was awarded after the Devils' Henrik Tallinder took a cross-checking minor.
New Jersey netminder Martin Brodeur tried to play the puck behind the right side of his net, but flubbed the clear and John Tavares grabbed it along the boards. He brought it out front and got a shot on net that was stopped. A mad scramble ensued with Brodeur out of position and a Devil defender guarding the net, but Boyes was able to jam it in for the win.
"We talked about just finding a way going into the third period and learn how to win, find a way to win," said Boyes. "Our penalty kill has been great of late and so has our power play."
Tavares scored two goals and had an assist, giving him four goals and seven helpers through the first seven games. Mark Streit and Keith Aucoin also scored for the Islanders, while Evgeni Nabokov allowed four goals on 32 shots in the win.
The win concluded a five-game swing for New York, which now plays six of its next eight at home.
The Islanders also snapped a four-game slide to the Devils, a skid that included a 2-1 home loss on Jan. 19. New Jersey, though, has still won nine of the last 12 meetings overall and six of the past nine as the guest.
Tallinder, Adam Henrique, Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter all scored for the Devils, who dropped their third straight beyond regulation after opening up the season with three victories in a row. Brodeur gave up all five goals on 35 shots in the loss.
New Jersey's six-game point streak to begin the season then came to an end on Saturday with a 5-1 loss at Pittsburgh. Andy Greene scored shorthanded as the Devils' winless streak reached four games.
"They played well defensively and held the puck most of the game," said Brodeur. "It was hard to get shots on net and generate any offense. When a team like that plays they way they did, you're not going to win any games."
Brodeur yielded all five goals on 30 shots. He is expected to get the day off Sunday, with Johan Hedberg slated to make his second start of the campaign. Hedberg stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced on Tuesday in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins.