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New York Islanders can’t overcome slow start, fall to New Jersey Devils (Highlights)

The New York Islanders couldn’t overcome a slow start, falling to the New Jersey Devils, 3-2.

  • New York Islanders (26-21-10)
  • New Jersey Devils (25-23-10)
  • NHL Final, Box Score
  • Prudential Center, Newark, NJ

Led Pipe, indeed.

Nick Leddy, the Islanders’ dependable top-flight defenseman, ringed one off the post in the waning moments of the third period as his team fell to the New Jersey Devils, 3-2.

The Isles nearly surmounted a three-goal deficit when Leddy whiffed on a point-blank attempt with little to go in regulation. Doug Weight‘s squad couldn’t sneak one past Cory Schneider with the game on the line—halting the momentum produced from the team’s thrilling victory over the Rangers on Thursday night.

Although the Isles ultimately lost the contest, they conjured up a season-high 42 shots-on-goal. This was despite an underwhelming effort in the game’s first two periods.

Devante Smith-Pelly, who was reinserted into the lineup after being healthy scratched from six consecutive games, got the Devs on the board midway through the first period. That was followed by a shorthanded goal off a 2-on-1 by Travis Zajac, who also had a helper in the contest.

Pavel Zacha gave the Devs a three-goal advantage with a wrister from the left circle on the power play. Islanders captain John Tavares was previously denied on a penalty shot, and let’s face it: the guy’s a terrific hockey player. The skills competition just isn’t for him.

Still, the Isles rallied. Andrew Ladd narrowed the deficit to two midway through the final frame, and Anthony Beauvillier buried his own rebound to bring the Isles to within one. But with the game on the line, Leddy couldn’t find the back of the net, and the Isles missed out on a crucial two points.

The Maple Leafs’ 6-3 loss to the Senators guarantees that the Isles remain one point out of a playoff spot. But it also makes the latter’s loss so irritating: if the Isles could have found a way to secure two points, they would have been in the picture for the first time since, well … October?

The Islanders and Devils complete their back-to-back in Brooklyn on Sunday night.

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.