New York Islanders 5, New Jersey Devils 4: Postgame Highlights
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

At long last, the New York Islanders snapped a five-game losing skid with a 5-4 shootout win over a dominant New Jersey Devils team, who has now lost 5 straight (0-2-3).

  • New York Islanders (21-18-4, 46 points)
  • New Jersey Devils (22-11-8, 52 points)
  • NYI Goals: Anders Lee (25), Anthony Beauvillier (5), Sebastian Aho (1) PPG, Cal Clutterbuck (7)
  • NJD Goals: Travis Zajac (4, 5) SHG, Miles Wood (11), Taylor Hall (15)
  • NHL, Final, Box Score
  • Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

It took the Islanders five tries, but they finally ended their five-game losing streak (0-5-0) in comeback fashion, with a two-goal third period paving the way for an intense overtime period and a shootout edge courtesy of Brock Nelson.

The Islanders continued their home-dominance over what has proven to be a very talented Devils team this season, having not lost to Jersey’s team on home ice since the tail end of the 2013-14 season.

With the streak snapped, the Islanders can head into the break looking to build off of a win that hopefully propels them upward from here.


Recap

In the first period, a controversial disallowed goal against Kyle Palmieri paved the way for Anders Lee to tie his rookie-season goal total while lingering in his office down front.

The score would hold through the first period, and in the second Travis Zajac started a fantastic night with a backhand tally after a costly turnover by Sebastian Aho.

With plenty of motivation to perform after spending a couple of games down in the AHL, Anthony Beauvillier took a pass from Mathew Barzal and slapped it through to regain a 2-1 lead for the Islanders. The last time the Islanders had a lead in the second period before this was December 23rd against the Winnipeg Jets. Barzal is continuing his impressive rookie campaign.

It seemed the Islanders would continue hammering against the Devils on the powerplay, but Barzal had his stick lifted and the puck was chipped to center where Zajac made no mistake and did his best Frans Nielsen impression for a 2-2 tie and the Islanders league-leading ninth short-handed goal allowed.

The third period started out where the Isles left off — struggling and getting buried quickly.

Miles Wood gave the Devils the lead back down in front for their third goal, and Taylor Hall backhanded a stray puck in front of the net for a 4-2 lead that caused Jaroslav Halak to display his emotion in front of 15,000 fans.

Things looked bleak. “Here we go again,” thought the thousands of Isles fans watching as the anxiety built that could have resulted in a sixth-straight loss.

But no, said Aho. He buried his first-career NHL goal, and the Islanders had life.

Aho had two points on the night, one that came from his first NHL goal, and the other an assist to Cal Clutterbuck to tie the game and secure one point for the first time in five games for the Islanders.

Onto OT the game went, and the Islanders played hands down the most intense overtime of the season. John Tavares was handed one of the worst calls of the season after Palmieri tripped on open air in front of him and to the box went the captain with roughly 2:30 left to play in overtime.

The Islanders PK was perfect, killed off the penalty after some close looks, and to a shootout, the game went.

Did anyone put money down on Nelson scoring the shootout winner, and the only shootout goal of the fifth frame for the win?

Onward and Inward

With the Islanders heading to a small break, a win was absolutely necessary to maintain their composure and to send them off with an air of hope rather than the dread they faced heading into this contest.

With 46 points on the season, the Isles have slipped, but not fallen in the playoff race.

They leapfrog the Pittsburgh Penguins and are in a three-way tie with the Flyers and Hurricanes for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, albeit with no games in hand, but this still gives the Islanders an opportunity to string some wins together after the break and get right back in the thick of the Metropolitan division.

A strong showing by Halak paved the way for the Islanders to win tonight, making an (alarming) total of 42 saves on 46 shots, the most he’s made since 2015 against the Flyers.

The defense still has a long way to go, sure, but the Islanders have demanded strong performances from their goalies and there was no stronger showing than Halak had tonight. Despite his four goals allowed, he had a .913 save percentage that may not seem great at face value, but remember that 46 shots were sent his way. Forty. Six.

The Islanders will have time to iron things out after the bye-week, but they can feel better about starting fresh against their other hometown rival New York Rangers this Saturday.

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