Devils Keep Playoff Hopes Alive with Shutout Victory over Islanders | 04/24/2024

Robert Sabo for the NY Post

The New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Islanders 4-0 on Sunday evening on Long Island, earning their first shutout of the season. The Devils got the job done with a strong bounce-back performance less than 24 hours after losing to the Ottawa Senators and tallied a necessary two points against a division rival. With the win, the Devils improved to 35-33-4, while the Islanders fell to 30-26-15.

Game Recap

Period One

The Devils had the early jump in the game but quickly found themselves in penalty trouble. Kaapo Kahkonen made some huge early saves to kill off two consecutive penalties, including a few seconds of a five-on-three.

New Jersey finished the period just three seconds into their own five-on-three opportunity.

The Devils were outshot 13-6 in the period, but the score remained tied at zero.

Period Two

The Devils cashed in on their two-man advantage with a goal at 0:38. Jack Hughes executed a perfect pass to Timo Meier, who buried the puck from the side door. Luke Hughes collected the secondary assist.

Minutes later, the Devils struck again, thanks to a snipe from Jack Hughes at 2:57, in his 300th career game. Meier and Jesper Bratt had the assists.

New Jersey extended the lead at 6:12, with a goal from Alexander Holtz in his 100th career game. Simon Nemec tallied the lone assist with a beautiful stick handle and cross-crease pass to fool Ilya Sorokin.

At 16:48, Anders Lee caught the Devils’ captain, Nico Hischier, with an illegal knee-on-knee hit. Meier came to Hischier’s defense, dropping the gloves with Lee and completing a Gordie Howe hat trick in the process.

Lee was penalized five minutes for fighting, five minutes for kneeing and a game misconduct. Meier was penalized five minutes for fighting, two minutes for instigating and a ten-minute misconduct.

Hischier went down the tunnel and did not return in the period.

New Jersey outshot the Islanders 17-10 in the middle frame.

Period Three

Hischier returned to the game to start the third period and had a dangerous chance on the power play, but the Devils couldn’t convert in the remaining minutes of their advantage.

During an Islanders power play, Kyle Palmieri thought he had scored, but it was waved off for batting the puck in with his glove, and the Devils’ shutout remained intact.

Kahkonen came up huge to bail the Devils out and both teams skated four aside afterward. Islanders coach Patrick Roy pulled Sorokin with over six minutes remaining for the man advantage.

The Devils capitalized on the empty net and Chris Tierney iced the game at 15:53. Erik Haula and Kevin Bahl collected the assists.

The Devils were outshot 36-30 but recorded their first shutout of the season with the 4-0 victory.

Takeaways

The Devils won the special teams battle against New York. They cashed in on one of their four power-play attempts, which ultimately served as the game-winning goal. The penalty kill was even more impressive for New Jersey, killing off all five power plays that it faced. The Devils have now gone five consecutive games without allowing a power play goal and climbed back into the top half of the league in penalty kill percentage, after a slow start to the season.

Timo Meier continued his excellent play with a goal, assist and fight for a Gordie Howe hat trick on Long Island. In his last ten games, he has recorded nine goals and 14 points. His physical play has also added an edge to the Devils’ top six and was again prominent in his fight against Lee. Regardless of the current standings, Devils fans have a lot to look forward to next season with a healthy Meier playing to his full potential as a power forward.

Up Next

The Devils will look to win a second consecutive contest on Tuesday night in Toronto when they face off against the Maple Leafs.

This is the first meeting of the year between the Devils and Maple Leafs, and they will meet each other twice more in the final few weeks of the season.

The Maple Leafs sit third in the Atlantic Division with a 40-21-9 record. Their most recent contest result was a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night.

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