Devils, Islanders conclude home-and-home set

In Friday's opener of a home-and-home set, the Devils were able to capitalize on their chances, while the Islanders were left with yet another frustrating outing.

New Jersey looks to extend its winning streak over stumbling New York this afternoon with a third straight victory overall as the clubs get together at the Prudential Center.

The Devils played host to the Islanders with a matinee yesterday afternoon for the first time this season and the two Atlantic Division residents tallied 23 shots each. The only difference was one found the back of the net for New Jersey in a 1-0 victory.

Petr Sykora had that goal, a power-play marker in the second period, and Johan Hedberg made 23 saves in his second shutout of the season and 19th of his career.

Hedberg twice got the better of New York's Michael Grabner, a 34-goal scorer last year who has five this season. Grabner was denied on a breakaway early in the third and then had his penalty shot attempt turned aside later in the frame.

"He was great," Devils head coach Peter DeBoer said of Hedberg. "That's what we need. He's a consummate pro. He sits and waits for his turn and then comes out pitches a game like that. It's exactly what we need."

New Jersey has won four off five and eight of its last 11 games and pushed its overall winning streak against New York to five in a row. Things don't get easier for the Islanders today as they have dropped eight of their last nine in the Garden State.

Grabner will try to shake off his recent frustrations. He has failed to log a point in five of his last six games.

"I didn't get a lot out of the open chances," Grabner said. "I just have to find a way to score at least one."

Al Montoya, playing for the first time since Nov. 10 because of a hamstring injury, made 22 saves as New York was shut out for the sixth time this season and for the third instance on its current four-game losing streak.

Head coach Jack Capuano felt his team was "too cute" on its odd-man rushes.

"We played a good team, a good defensive team," said Capuano. "We had our chance on the power plays and we had a penalty shot. We didn't capitalize."

The Islanders have lost eight of their last nine and take aim today at their first road win of the season (0-5-2).