Islanders down slumping Devils

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Updated: April 1, 2013

Evgeni Nabokov made 24 saves to backstop the
postseason hopeful New York Islanders to a critical 3-1 win over the New
Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

The Islanders remained tied with the New York Rangers for the eighth and final
playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but closed within two points of
seventh-place New Jersey with their fourth win in five games.

Martin Brodeur stopped 18 shots for a Devils club that has dropped four
straight. The three previous setbacks had come after regulation.

The Islanders jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period behind goals by
Josh Bailey and Travis Hamonic.

Bailey lit the lamp 52 seconds after the game’s opening faceoff, capping a
nifty passing sequence that began with a Kyle Okposo collecting a stretch pass
at the red line. Okposo quickly dished to Frans Nielsen to create a 2-on-1
rush and Nielsen saucered the puck over to Bailey, who beat Brodeur with a
backhander.

Hamonic was able to put a soft shot from the right point past Brodeur at the
7:14 mark.

Alexei Ponikarovsky put New Jersey on the board when he used the backhand to
direct Patrik Elias’s pass through the pads of Nabokov at 8:01 of the second
frame.

The Islanders regained a two-goal cushion near the midway point of the third
period. Brodeur pushed Lubomir Visnovsky’s bid away with his paddle, but the
puck went right to John Tavares and he buried it for a power-play goal at
9:13.

Game Notes

New Jersey forward Dainius Zubrus returned to the lineup after missing 26
games. He underwent surgery to repair ligament damage in his left wrist on
Feb. 14 … The Islanders improved to 11-5-1 on the road this season.