Final OT

Series (Game 5 of 6)

New Jersey leads 4-2

Game 1: Friday, November 26th
Game 2: Thursday, December 23rd
Game 3: Monday, January 17th
Game 4: Sunday, March 6th
Game 5: Saturday, March 12th
Game 6: Wednesday, March 30th

Islanders 2

(27-32-11, 65 pts)

Devils 3

(32-32-4, 68 pts)

7:00 PM ET, March 12, 2011

Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey

1 2 3 OT T
NYI 0 2 0 02
NJ 1 0 1 13

A. Salmela (Devils - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

D. Clarkson (Devils - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

B. Comeau (Islanders - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Islanders-Devils Preview


The New Jersey Devils' unexpected climb back into the playoff race has been the talk of the NHL.

Maybe it's time to start putting the New York Islanders in that conversation as well.

New Jersey looks to avoid a second straight home loss Saturday night when it faces the surging Islanders for the second time this week.

The Devils (31-32-4) rebounded from a rare loss with a 3-2 overtime win at Atlanta on Friday. Travis Zajac scored his second goal of the game on a power play in the extra session as 12th-place New Jersey improved to 21-3-2 in its last 26 games and pulled within eight points of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

"For us, we stuck with it," Zajac said. "We didn't give them too many shots. It was a tight game. Our power play came through for us."

Martin Brodeur had another strong performance with 24 saves. He is 5-1-0 with a 1.45 goals-against average since missing three weeks with a right knee injury.

"We're a little far out now to think we can make it," Brodeur said. "We have to face teams that are still in the race."

Devils coach Jacques Lemaire could play his veteran goalie on back-to-back nights or turn to Johan Hedberg, who had won seven straight starts before losing to Tampa Bay on Feb. 25 in his last appearance.

Six consecutive games against teams currently out of playoff position figured to aid New Jersey's postseason push, but the Devils lost at home to Eastern Conference-worst Ottawa on Tuesday, two days after opening the stretch with a 3-2 shootout win over the Islanders.

New York (27-32-10) has been far from a pushover lately, capping a 4-0-1 homestand with a come-from-behind 4-2 victory over Boston on Friday.

"They're all big games," coach Jack Capuano said. "This group believes in each other."

The Islanders, two points behind the Devils, are 22-14-5 since Dec. 16, tying the Bruins for the most points in the East during that span.

Strong goaltending has helped key the team's resurgence, even if it has come from a very unlikely source. Al Montoya, who would be the fourth Islanders goalie to start against the Devils this season, is 6-2-2 in 10 starts and has allowed two or fewer goals six times since he was acquired from Phoenix on Feb. 9.

"(It's) so much more fun, winning," Montoya said.

Capuano's team has registered 40 or more shots in three of its last five games after failing to reach that total in the previous 23 contests. The Islanders have amassed 40 shots in consecutive wins for the first time since Jan. 9 and 11, 1986.

The Islanders held Ilya Kovalchuk scoreless in the first two meetings this season and won both, but the Devils' star winger led his team to victories with a goal in each of the last two matchups.

New Jersey has won six of seven at home against the Islanders.