Anders Lee scores OT winner, Islanders beat Devils 4-3
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Getting contributions from almost all their lines was what the New York Islanders needed to end their recent goal-scoring woes.
“That’s how it has been for us the last couple of years,” Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock said. “It’s important to have that when you have different guys stepping up every night.”
Casey Cizikas, Jordan Eberle and Tom Kuhnhackl also scored for the Islanders, who had been limited to two goals in their previous three games. Thomas Greiss made 32 saves for the Islanders, including one on defenseman Sami Vatanen on a 3-on-1 break in overtime.
Islanders coach Barry Trotz said the Devils got their odd-man break because Brock Nelson lost his stick and then could not grab another at the bench despite five players handing him sticks.
“It was a comedy of errors,” Trotz said after his team won its second game in as many nights, following a 1-0 win over Colorado. “Big save by Greisser and a big goal by Leesie, who I thought was our best player by a long shot.”
P.K. Subban, Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri scored for the Devils, who were looking for their second win over the Islanders in less than a week.
A gutsy Mackenzie Blackwood shook off an illness and bloodied mouth and stopped 37 shots for New Jersey.
“He’s been sick the last couple of days. He looked terrible in practice yesterday,” Palmieri said of Blackwood. “He was fighting it a little bit this morning with whatever he’s got going on. He came out and battled.”
The game-winner came when the Islanders caught the Devils and rookie Nikita Gusev on a line change. Devon Toews gave Lee the puck and he beat Blackwood up high for his 13th goal.
“It happened fast. I think Goose went for a change,” Hischier said. “I got to be honest. I think I cheated a little bit, too much on offense there. I thought it was going to be a chip. I was too late back. The third guy was mine but I was too late.”
Blackwood was hurt late in the second period when a hard slap shot by Pulock hit him in the mask. He did not talk after the game and it appeared he might have had some teeth knocked loose.
Neither team led by more than a goal in the entertaining game between the longtime rivals.
The Devils grabbed their first lead of the night when Palmieri scored on the game’s only power play with 8:05 left in regulation.
Kuhnhackl, who was sidelined from Oct. 27 to Dec. 19 with a lower-body injury, tied the game a little more than two minutes later with a shot from the right point after the Devils turned the puck over in their own zone.
The Islanders took two one-goal leads, only to see the Devils tie the game.
Hischier tied it at 2-all with 1:36 left in the second period. He collected the puck in the right corner, skated to the blue line and then cut back toward the goal and beat Greiss with a backhander from the left circle after fighting off a check by Mathew Barzal.
Eberle gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead midway through the first period with a shot from between the circles after a giveaway by Devils defenseman Damon Severson.
Cizikas opened the scoring at 3:38, putting the rebound of Matt Martin’s shot past Blackwood.
Subban tied the game with a slap shot about five minutes later. Miles Wood set up the goal, circling the Islanders zone to find the defenseman.
NOTES: There were no penalties for the first 51:36. … No. 1 overall draft pick Jack Hughes missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury. … F Jesper Bratt missed his second straight with lower-body injury. … Subban and Hischier also scored in the Devils’ 2-1 win over the Islanders last week. … Islanders D Sebastian Aho was scratched for the third straight game since his recall from Bridgeport (AHL). … New York D Noah Dobson turned 20 Tuesday.
Islanders: Host Boston on Saturday at Barclays Center.
Devils: At the New York Rangers on Thursday night.