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Late Third Period Goal Dooms Devils in 2-1 Loss to Islanders


Lee Stempniak of the Devils attempts to get a puck on Islander’s goaltender Jaroslav Halak in the first period. Photo Credit: Kathy Willens of AP.

EAST HANOVER, NJ – It is never good to give up goals to the opposition’s fourth line. It is even worse to do so with just over two minutes left in the third period in a tied hockey game. Unfortunately for the Devils (6-5-1), that is what happened in a disappointing 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders (7-3-3) on Tuesday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

At 2:12 of the final frame, Islander’s center Casey Cizikas banged in a rebound past goaltender Cory Schneider to break a 1-1 tie. A deflected shot from the point was initially stopped by Schneider, but he gave up a big, juicy rebound. Cizikas fought for position in front of the net and beat Devils defenseman Andy Greene to the loose puck before firing in the eventual game winner.

“We just got beat in front of the net,” Devil’s head-coach John Hynes told “We were in a tight game and we couldn’t make enough plays at the end to get two points.”

Schneider made 32 saves for the Devils and was pulled for an extra attacker with just over a minute left. New Jersey had a couple of hard shots from the point, including a blast from left-winger Mike Cammalleri that rocketed off the boards and went all the way down to the Devil’s zone to effectively end the game.

“We could have easily had a point and probably could have found a way to get two,” Schneider said. “It’s tough to give one away like that.”

Center Travis Zajac kept the Devil’s red-hot power play going when he scored his fifth goal of the season off a rebound in front. New Jersey was one for five on the man advantage and are operating at a somewhat surprising 22.7 percent. That ranks 7th in the NHL.

“We changed the breakout and we knew we had to work for a goal,” Zajac said. “A couple shots softened [them] up and the rebound found [me].”

The Devils had perhaps their best chances of the game in the second period when they were down 1-0. Center Adam Henrique attempted to muscle in a puck past goaltender Jaroslav Halak after he gave up a rebound to right-winger Kyle Palmieri on a power play opportunity.

A few minutes later, left-winger Stephen Gionta had a couple of whacks at the puck right in front of Halak’s crease.  However, the Islander’s goaltender would not budge as New Jersey continued to look for their first score of the contest.

Although the result was not satisfying, Schneider had a solid outing to keep the Devils in the game. On the Islander’s first goal, he stopped two quality tries on net before the puck went off defenseman Eric Gelinas’ skate and hit Schneider; rolling into the back of the cage.

He redeemed himself a few minutes later. Josh Bailey gathered a loose puck in the slot and fired it from close range. Schneider made a fantastic glove save to keep the Devils deficit to just one heading into the second period.

Coming into Tuesday’s contest, the Devils have won six of their previous seven games. They won four in a row on the road before coming to Brooklyn. New Jersey will look to put together another string of wins; starting with a tough match-up against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, Chicago Blackhawks (7-5-0) on Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Prudential Center.



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