Devils seek to keep playoff hopes alive vs. Islanders

( - The good news for the New Jersey Devils is that playoff games don't go to shootouts.

The bad news is their lack of ability to win in the tiebreaker may be a reason they fail to reach the postseason.

The Devils try to avoid falling further back in the race for a wild card spot as they visit the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

New Jersey has lost all nine of its shootout games this season, scoring just once in 28 attempts in the tiebreaker. Those lost points could come back to haunt the club as it is four points behind four other teams that are currently tied for the two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference.

The Devils saw all three of their skaters fail to light the lamp on Thursday in a 3-2 shootout setback to the Phoenix Coyotes, who got the lone goal of the tiebreaker from Mikkel Boedker in the first round.

Adam Henrique and Ryane Clowe each lit the lamp to erase a two-goal deficit in regulation for the Devils, who have lost an NHL-record 13 consecutive shootouts dating back to last season. Martin Brodeur registered 25 saves in the setback, New Jersey's fifth in seven games.

"No way around it. (Shootout losses) are part of the reason the playoffs are getting tougher (to make)," Brodeur said. "It would've been better with two points but we have to be happy with what we did."

One of New Jersey's shootout losses this season came at home to the Islanders on Oct. 4, but the Devils have since won a pair of meetings on Long Island and have won eight of their last 10 on the road versus New York.

Cory Schneider earned one of those road wins versus the Islanders when he faced them for the first time in his career on Dec. 28, halting 30-of-31 shots faced. He is expected to get the start in net tonight.

The Islanders sit last in the Metropolitan Division with 66 points and are 4-2-1 in their past seven games following a 13-round shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

Frans Nielsen, Brock Nelson, Colin McDonald and Casey Cizikas all scored in the tiebreaker for the Isles, but the Lightning got the winner from Sami Salo after he lifted a backhander past Evgeni Nabokov.

Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop then preserved the win as he stopped Johan Sundstrom's offering.

Matt Donovan posted a goal and an assist while Ryan Strome notched a goal for the Islanders. Nabokov stopped 29 shots.

"That's the kind of effort we need," said New York defenseman Travis Hamonic said. "We're trying to play hard at this point of the season and we are just trying to get better each and every day. All we can ask of each other is to just keep working."

Nabokov could start again tonight and is 6-10-0 lifetime versus the Devils with a 3.09 GAA.

Forward Kyle Okposo is questionable for New York after missing Thursday's game due to a lower-body injury. He leads the Isles with 27 goals and 69 points in 71 games.