Once Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils got to the shootout against the New York Islanders they were doomed.
That is the way this season has gone, and it didn’t matter that Brodeur was looking for a win in what might have been his final start after 20 seasons with the Devils.
New Jersey just can’t win in shootouts. The Devils lost their 13th this season and extended their NHL record for shootout ineptitude to 17 straight over the past two seasons, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Islanders on Friday night.
"Almost comical," Devils goal scorer Ryan Carter said of the shootout woes.
The Islanders were impressive in the shootout with Frans Nielsen, Josh Bailey and Ryan Strome scoring. Bailey and Strome had highlight goals, doing it with 360 spin-a-rama moves.
Devils coach Pete DeBoer announced after the game that he’ll start the soon-to-be 42 year-old Brodeur in the season finale against Boston at home on Sunday, NJ.com reported.
Brodeur was matter-of-fact about playing.
"Every time I play could be my last game," Brodeur said. "That’s the way I kind of approach it. I wasn’t sure I was going to play today, either. I was able to play and felt pretty good."
Brodeur, the NHL career leader in wins (687) and shutouts (124), is in the last season of his contract. He won three Stanley Cup titles with the Devils.
Cory Schneider is in line to be the Devils’ No. 1 goalie of the future.
"It doesn’t matter," Brodeur said. "The last game is the last game. I’m going to reflect on having an unbelievable career in New Jersey regardless if I decide to stay . or I decide to go do something else.
"For me, it’s not about my last performance. It’s about what I accomplished in the whole."
Carter and Patrik Elias scored for the Devils. Anders Lee and Strome had regulation goals for the Islanders in a matchup of teams that failed to make the playoffs this season.
The Islanders put on a show in the shootout against Brodeur, who made 28 saves through overtime.
Nielsen snapped a shot past Brodeur on New York’s first try, and Damien Brunner tied it 1-1 with a shot high into the net against Anders Nilsson, who had 25 saves.
"I was kind of guessing (Brodeur) was guessing a little bit," Nielsen said. ") just shot it quick."
Bailey and Strome then dazzled the crowd, skating in on Brodeur, doing full turns in front of him and beating him with backhand shots.
Jaromir Jagr lost the puck on the Devils’ second attempt, giving New York the win.
The Islanders had tied it 2-2 with a power-play goal by Strome 19 seconds into the third period. Nielsen found Strome coming down the right side for a shot into the top corner that gave him his seventh goal of the season.
The rest of the period belonged to the goalies.
Brodeur stopped Casey Cizikas on a breakaway, and the four-time Vezina Trophy winner made a snapping glove save on Colin McDonald.
Nilsson stopped a breakaway by Jagr, a rebound attempt by Dainius Zubrus, and a late chance on a wrist shot by Jagr.
The opening minutes of overtime were just as exciting with Nilsson withstanding four Devils whacking at a loose puck in the crease. When the Islanders eventually cleared it, Brock Nelson got a breakaway, only to be stopped by Brodeur.
New York had all four shots in the extra five minutes, thanks in part to a power play.
Limited to a shot in the opening 10 minutes of the game, the Islanders grabbed the lead on their second shot. Nielsen poked the puck off the stick of Jagr, and Lee got the puck at center ice.
The rookie skated into the Devils zone and beat Brodeur to the corner at 10:04.
New Jersey needed less than a minute to tie it with a goal from the fourth line.
Stephen Gionta sent the puck behind the Islanders net. Steve Bernier threw a pass out front, and Carter got inside defenseman Kevin Czuczman for a slam dunk on Nilsson.
Elias put New Jersey ahead 2-1 with 9 seconds left in the first period, taking a pass from Travis Zajac and beating Nilsson with a snap shot from between the circles.
NOTES: Television analyst Glenn "Chico" Resch announced he is retiring from the Devils broadcast booth after 18 years. The 65-year-old Resch, an original Devils goalie, revealed his decision during the first intermission. … The Islanders will finish the season at Buffalo on Sunday.