Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier fuel New York Islanders past New Jersey Devils

By Jim Cerny, The Sports Xchange
New York Islanders Thomas Greiss is surrounded by teammates. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI
New York Islanders Thomas Greiss is surrounded by teammates. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders kept their slim playoff hopes alive Friday with a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center. However, the win may have come at a steep cost.

Islanders captain John Tavares had to be helped off the ice with 3:14 remaining in regulation after getting tangled up with the back of the net and a Devils player. Though Islanders coach Doug Weight termed the injury "lower body," Tavares was clutching the back of his left leg in the hamstring area.


"It's not a great scenario, obviously, John is a huge engine and plays every single situation we've asked," said Weight. "It's a big blow anytime you see your best player go down."

Weight added that Tavares, who had an assist Friday and leads the Islanders with 66 points this season, will be further evaluated on Saturday to determine the severity of his injury.


"It didn't look great, but I'm always hopeful," said Weight.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Islanders (36-29-12) and moved them within four points of the idle Boston Bruins for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with five games to play.

Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier scored for the Islanders, and Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves. Halak lost his shutout bid on an Adam Henrique power-play goal with 8:37 to play in the third period.

It was the fifth straight loss for the Devils (27-36-14), who committed a string of penalties and were shorthanded a season-high 10 times on Friday.

"It takes away the flow of the game, and we need to do a better job of not taking those penalties," said Devils captain Andy Greene. "We played extremely hard, and played for each other out there, though."

One night after surrendering five first-period goals in a 6-3 road loss to the Flyers, the Islanders started quickly Friday.

Just 5:34 into play, Lee converted a rebound on a power play for his team-leading 29th goal of the season.


The Islanders, who have the 26th- ranked power play overall and 28th on home ice, had four more power plays in the first period, including a pair of two-man advantages, but failed to convert and build on their 1-0 lead. They did not score on two more power plays early in the second period either, and were just 1-for-10 in the game, failing on three more opportunities in the third period.

"I don't think we deserved 10 penalties, but kudos to our PK, we held strong," said Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid, who finished with 36 saves.

Kinkaid performed admirably, making standout saves on Tavares in the first period, and Cal Clutterbuck and Nick Leddy in the second.

He also had some good fortune when a shorthanded snap shot by Tavares early in the opening period caught iron and New Jersey's Kyle Palmieri swept he puck off the goal line. New York defenseman Calvin de Haan also hit the cross bar in the second period.

The Islanders limited New Jersey's chances at even strength, and, when called upon, Halak was very sharp, making clutch saves on a pair of second-period open looks for the Devils' Stefan Noesen and John Moore.


"I loved (Halak's) game today, I thought he was outstanding," Weight said of his goaltender. "He looked good, he looked sharp, and looked fresh. He played a heckuva game and helped us get the two points, for sure."

Beauvillier finally doubled New York's lead by wiring a right-wing shot past Kinkaid at 17:54 of the second.

Henrique's 20th goal pulled the Devils within one late in the third period, but they were unable to get the equalizer.

NOTES: The Islanders were without D Travis Hamonic and C Casey Cizikas due to unspecified injuries suffered in Thursday's loss to the Flyers. Before the game, Islanders coach Doug Weight said it is unlikely either Hamonic or Cizikas will play again this season. ... The Islanders also scratched C Ryan Strome (upper body), LW Nikolay Kulemin (upper body), G J.F. Berube, and D Scott Mayfield. ... Devils D Michael Kapla made his NHL debut and LW Michael Cammalleri returned to the lineup after a 13-game absence due to an upper body injury. ... Earlier in the day the Devils assigned LW Blake Pietila to Albany of the American Hockey League. ... The Devils scratched C Jacob Josefson (upper body), RW Devante Smith-Pelly (lower body), D Jon Merrill, and D Dalton Prout.


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