The New Jersey Devils paid a visit to UBS Arena for a Metropolitan Division matchup on Thursday. The New York Islanders headed into the game with two straight wins and the Devils just picked up their first victory of the year.
Ilya Sorokin returned to the net for the Islanders and was opposed by Mackenzie Blackwood. Sorokin stole the show in the first period after shutting down a dominant offensive effort by the Devils. The penalty kill took care of business again but this time had Sorokin to thank.
The Devils spent most of the period in the Islanders zone. New York had just two shots in the period and the first shot was registered late in the period.
Despite the difference in the stats, the Isles appeared to be in the game and taking time to get going. It was very reminiscent of this team under Barry Trotz.
The Devils were all over the Islanders from the start of the game.
The offensive push from Lane Lambert’s team just was not there in the first and the second period, but in the second, Sorokin played extremely well, he just could not overcome some defensive turnovers that lead to goals for Jack Hughes and Ondrej Palat.
It was the first goal of the year for Hughes and the second goal in a Devils uniform for Palat after signing from Tampa Bay in the summer.
Another untimely penalty by the captain cut short a promising power play for the Islanders. Overall, the Islanders seemed flat, and their legs just did not get going to match the speed of the Devils’ young forwards.
The third period began the same as the prior two periods, with the Devils skating around the Islanders.
A poor offensive zone penalty put the Devils back on the power play early in the period. The puck movement on the power play was superb by the Devils but New York remained perfect on the PK.
The scoring chances were available for the Islanders after the power play, but they could not finish.
Kyle Palmieri has had the best chances in the game to score but has come up with nothing. The Barzal line has not been produced in the last two games and the pressure of a new contract may be getting to Barzal.
The period entered the halfway point, and the Islanders could only muster up two shots on goal. The offensive zone time was not sustainable, and the Devils were quick to counter.
Late in the period, Palat snuck in behind a lethargic group of Islanders and took a pass from Jesper Bratt for his second goal of the game.
Minutes later, New York started to show signs of life. Another quiet game for Barzal, he put the puck to the net, and the captain, Anders Lee, shoveled it home to keep their chances alive.
With an empty net, the Islanders began to show some urgency on offense, but it was just too little too late.
The Devils’ captain, Nico Hischier, put in an empty net goal to put the game away.
This was a tale of two efforts. The Islanders never played with any urgency or energy for that matter. The Devils showed the Islanders the example of what Lambert is looking for in the Islanders. The personnel for the New York did not show up.
If it wasn’t for Sorokin, this game could have been even uglier than the 4-1 final. Sorokin will need to repeat these types of efforts as the Islanders head to Florida to play the Panthers and the Lightning.