for this game

Islanders defeat Devils for seventh time in nine meetings

Nov 3, 2006 - 3:21 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Mike Sillinger, Alexei Zhitnik and Tom Poti did not have to score to become heroes for the New York Islanders.

The trio killed off an entire two-man disadvantage for nearly two minutes in the second period to preserve a two-goal edge, and Jason Blake and Alexei Yashin collected three points apiece to lead the Islanders to a 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

After Mike York and defenseman Brendan Witt were whistled for penalties five seconds apart near the 12-minute mark of the second period, Sillinger and blue-liners Zhitnik and Poti were caught in their own end, unable to change with the bench far away and New Jersey holding a two-man advantage.

But they limited the Devils' top power-play unit to just two shots on goal in the sequence.

"The key moment of the game was when we killed the 5-on-3," Yashin said.

"Mike Sillinger did a heck of a job," Blake said. "Any time you go 5-on-3 and they put their five guys out there, which might be the best five guys in the league. It was definitely a turning point. It gave us a big boost."

Goaltender Rick DiPietro handled the rest and finished with 14 saves for his fifth straight victory over New Jersey.

"It was huge," DiPietro said. "New Jersey feeds off other teams' mistakes and turnovers, and I thought tonight was one of our better games of the season to this point."

The Islanders have won three straight games for the first time this season and continued their stellar play against the Devils, to whom they have not lost since January 21.

"Our conditioning on the (penalty kill) was probably the best we've seen on a 5-on-3 this year," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "Sillinger gets some big goals for us, but also he plays a key role in our penalty killing.

Certain times, you're going to be caught out where you've just got to rely on your instincts. The energy level is going to be gone, but Sillinger has great experience. All three of those guys relied more on their instincts than their energy levels at that point."

The Islanders are 4-0-1 in their last five trips to New Jersey, where they have not lost in regulation since March 28, 2004. They also earned their 100th win over the Devils.

Shortly following the big penalty kill, former Devils right wing Viktor Kozlov netted his fourth goal to increase the Islanders lead to 4-1 with 4:46 remaining in the second session.

In addition to Kozlov's tally, Yashin assisted goals by Zhitnik and Blake, pushing his team-best total to 11. Zhitnik scored midway through the second period and Blake netted his seventh of the season - his sixth on the power play - to make it 5-2 at 4:46 of the third period.

Trent Hunter thwarted Martin Brodeur's bid for a career-best third straight shutout eight minutes into the game, beating him to the glove side with a wrist shot from the slot after New York forced a turnover in New Jersey's zone.

Brodeur, who stopped 22 shots, had his scoreless scoreless streak halted at 137 minutes, 19 seconds. He and the Devils had not played since a 1-0 win over Columbus on Saturday.

"There's no excuse for that," Brodeur said. "Time off is time off, maybe the first period to get your legs going. But it's not like we played great hockey afterward."

Rookie Travis Zajac tied the game, 1-1, with 4:30 left in the opening period by sending a wrist shot past DiPietro's glove after Witt blocked Jamie Langenbrunner's shot.

New York responded just 32 seconds thereafter as Miroslav Satan, who had not scored since his first shot in the season opener, lifted a sharp-angle backhander over Brodeur's blocker to make it 2-1.

Zach Parise tallied with 1:14 left in the second period to close New Jersey within 4-2. However, Blake cashed in on the Islanders' third power play of the game to create the final margin.

Devils center Scott Gomez aggravated a groin injury and will be evaluated Friday.

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