Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - David Clarkson scored the go-ahead goal
midway through the third period, as the reigning Eastern Conference champion
New Jersey Devils opened their season with a 2-1 victory over the New York
Islanders on Saturday at Nassau Coliseum.
Travis Zajac, fresh off signing a long-term deal earlier this week, also
tallied a goal, while Martin Brodeur turned away 18 shots for the Devils, who
made a thrilling run to the Stanley Cup Finals last season before losing to
the Los Angeles Kings in six games.
Travis Hamonic registered a power play goal in the setback, while Evgeni
Nabokov notched 26 saves for the Islanders, who finished last season at the
bottom of the Atlantic Division standings for the fifth consecutive year.
With New Jersey holding a 1-0 lead early in the third, Devils defenseman
Henrik Tallinder was whistled for hooking. Following a scrum in the right
corner, the puck popped free to a wide-open Hamonic in the slot and the
defenseman beat Brodeur with a wrister high to the glove side to knot the
game, 1-1, at the 7:12 mark.
Clarkson's answer came just over a minute later, as he wristed one on goal
from the top of the right circle and the puck snuck through a screen and
slipped through the five-hole of Nabokov to put New Jersey back in front.
An interference call against Ilya Kovalchuk late in the third provided the
Islanders with the man advantage, but Brodeur stood tall between the pipes to
maintain New Jersey's one-goal lead and the Devils held on for the victory.
After a scoreless first period, New Jersey took advantage of a sloppy line
change from the Islanders late in the second period for the game's first goal.
From his own zone, Tallinder sprung Kovalchuk with a long pass to the
offensive blue line. Kovalchuk then flipped a pass to the low right side to a
cutting Zajac, who deflected it over a sprawling Nabokov for a 1-0 lead with
just under six minutes left in the second stanza.
The Devils have won four straight against the Islanders ... Brodeur started
his 18th straight season opener in net for New Jersey, extending his NHL
record ... Due to medical reasons, Islanders head coach Jack Capuano was not
on the bench. Dough Weight, the team's senior adviser to the general manager
and assistant coach, was the acting coach.
The Sports Network