Atrocious special teams play came back to bite the Devils in their collective hind quarters Thursday night as they dropped their third straight game in extra time, 5-4 to the Islanders at Prudential Center.
After each of the previous two defeats the Devils played the "happy we got a point, we didn't play badly" card, but that's not going to work in this one. Why check out these ugly numbers.
New Jersey power play 0-for-5.
New Jersey penalty allowed three goals on five chances.
So, while they came away with a point, they are not a team playing especially well at the moment.
“We knew going in they’re a team that can score if you give them opportunities and they have a great power play," coach Pete DeBoer said. "We fell into that trap. We gave them some opportunities and we gave them power plays. Like I said, you get what you deserve. You go in eyes wide open and we still got burned.
“We didn’t deserve to win,” DeBoer said. “We didn’t play well enough to win. We lost the special teams battles. We lost the faceoff battle. I said before, you get what you deserve in this game. We had some opportunities to win, but we didn’t play well enough to earn two points.”
Even the sure-handed Martin Brodeur struggled, losing the puck on what would become Brad Boyes' power-play goal for the winner.
“We’re a good team killing penalties,” Brodeur told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. “There’s no reason why we had to give up that many goals. The second goal, I kind of misread it. I thought my defenseman was going to touch it, so I canceled the icing and they got in the zone and they stayed there and they scored off a pass. The same thing on the first goal. (Boyes) gets a great chance, he goes to shoot, (Ilya Kovalchuk) slashes him and it goes right to Tavares and open net.
“It was just bad luck we had today, but we created our bad luck to a certain extent also.”
Boyes set up his own winner by stealing the puck from Brodeur behind the net. John Tavares, who scored twice, got an initial shot on net and Frans Nielsen put the rebound on net that defenseman Bryce Salvador stopped. But Boyes was all over the follow-up shot.
Brodeur told Tom Canavan of the Associated Press that he felt he made the right decision playing the puck behind the net, but wasn’t sure whether the puck bobbled or someone hit his stick, causing him to lose it.
“After that it was a free-for all,” Brodeur said. “Sal (Salvador) almost had it, too. It’s just one of those plays where I felt I made the right decision and had plenty of time, but it backfired on me.”
Keith Aucoin and Mark Streit also scored for the Islanders, Evgeni Nabokov made 28 saves.
Adam Henrique Steve Bernier, Ryan Carter and Henrik Tallinder tallied for the Devils, who three times rallied to tie it. Brodeur finished with 30 saves.
The Islanders, who came into the game converting 30 percent of their power-play chances, got their first two goals with the extra man.
Tavares hit a wide-open net after Boyes faked a shot and slid the puck to him alone at the side of the net.
Aucoin tallied his fourth of the season, swatting his own rebound past Brodeur after taking a nifty cross-ice pass from the point by defenseman Travis Hamonic.
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