for this game

Rookie Okposo propels Islanders past Devils

Mar 22, 2008 - 4:05 AM
NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Kyle Okposo made his first career goal one to remember.

The seventh overall selection in the 2006 draft, Okposo snapped a tie with 2:35 remaining in the third period as the New York Islanders skated to a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday.

Playing in just his second NHL game, the 19-year-old also assisted on Blake Comeau's first-period goal for New York, which managed to avoid its second seven-game losing streak of the season.

Okposo barely was able to contain his excitement about scoring his first NHL goal.

"Unbelievable, especially to get it on Martin Brodeur in a 1-1 game to break the tie," Okposo said. "It's a great feeling, but we still have some more games to win. I grew up watching him. It just feels great to get that first goal."

"He kind of shot it at the middle of the net and (captain Jamie Langenbrunner) got his stick there and it went short side," Brodeur said.

Blue-liner Bryan Berard added two assists and Trent Hunter sealed the win with an empty-netter with 19 seconds remaining in the third period for the Islanders (33-35-7), who trail the idle Boston Bruins (37-28-9) by 10 points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with seven games remaining.

Travis Zajac scored the lone goal for New Jersey (42-25-7), which remained tied with idle Pittsburgh (42-25-7) atop the Atlantic Division and one point behind idle Montreal (41-24-10) for the top spot in the East.

"I think the lack of offense burned us once again," Brodeur said. "We have games in hand and didn't take advantage of it. Now we're equal with the other teams that are around us. It's going to come down to (the end of the season)."

"We got a lot of shots, but they weren't quality," New Jersey's John Madden said. "We could have buried them in the second period if we would have taken advantage of our power plays, but it just seemed that we had no sense of urgency."

With the game tied at 1-1 late in the third period, Okposo wristed the puck past Brodeur for his first goal. Okposo, however, did not get a good look at the tally, as he was cross-checked by Devils defenseman Mike Mottau after taking his shot.

"I just got cross-checked and the helmet came off," Okposo said. "I wasn't coming off there on the power play with three minutes left."

"To score that goal at that time of the game, especially with no helmet on, couldn't have been any better," said Islanders captain Bill Guerin, a former Devil. "It's been great having a lot of these young guys around. They put a good feeling in the locker room, and the older guys feed off that. As much as we have to push them, they push us and they provide us with a lot of youthful energy."

Comeau opened the scoring just 4:46 into the first period.

After receiving a pass from Okposo, Comeau skated into the left faceoff circle before wristing a shot between the legs of defenseman Sheldon Brookbank and past Brodeur for his 10th of the season.

Okposo, who made his NHL debut on Tuesday in the Islanders' 3-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, was credited with an assist for his first career point.

"I felt much more calm (tonight), not even that I got an assist right away, just because it was my second game and I was a bit more composed out there," Okposo said.

Zajac leveled the contest by gathering the rebound of Brian Gionta's shot from the slot and tapping the puck past netminder Wade Dubielewicz for his 14th tally of the campaign and first in 14 games.

That was the lone goal allowed by Dubielewicz, who finished with 34 saves to improve to 3-0-0 lifetime against New Jersey. The victory also was the Islanders' sixth in seven meetings with the Devils this season.

"Sometimes you match up well against teams and sometimes you don't," he said. "There are certain teams, for some reason, we can't beat this year, and it seems we got the Devils' number. I couldn't tell you why the reason is."

"He's been playing really well the last couple of months and we haven't always been there for him," Guerin said. "It was good to see him get a win."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 1 0 2 3
    NEW JERSEY 1 0 0 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - BLAKE COMEAU 7 (KYLE OKPOSO, BRYAN BERARD) 4:46
    NJD - (PP) TRAVIS ZAJAC 14 (BRIAN GIONTA, ZACH PARISE) 13:46
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: NYI - (PP) KYLE OKPOSO 1 (BRYAN BERARD, WADE DUBIELEWICZ)
    17:25
    NYI - (EN) TRE

    Mar 21 9:36 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 3
    NEW JERSEY 1
    3RD PRD: NYI - (EN) TRENT HUNTER 11 (UNASSISTED) 19:41

    Islanders 3, Devils 1  3rd - 0:19Mar 21 9:33 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 2
    NEW JERSEY 1
    3RD PRD: NYI - (PP) KYLE OKPOSO 1 (BRYAN BERARD, WADE DUBIELEWICZ)
    17:25

    Islanders 2, Devils 1  3rd - 2:35Mar 21 9:32 PM
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    Islanders 2, Devils 1  3rd - 2:35Mar 21 9:32 PM
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    Islanders 1, Devils 1  3rd - 4:43Mar 21 9:31 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 57 roots (Close Finish)

    Islanders 1, Devils 1  3rd - 4:43Mar 21 9:21 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Islanders 1, Devils 1  3rd - 7:30Mar 21 9:16 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 1 0 1
    NEW JERSEY 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - BLAKE COMEAU 7 (KYLE OKPOSO, BRYAN BERARD) 4:46
    NJD - (PP) TRAVIS ZAJAC 14 (BRIAN GIONTA, ZACH PARISE) 13:46
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYI 5

    Mar 21 8:38 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 1 1
    NEW JERSEY 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - BLAKE COMEAU 7 (KYLE OKPOSO, BRYAN BERARD) 4:46
    NJD - (PP) TRAVIS ZAJAC 14 (BRIAN GIONTA, ZACH PARISE) 13:46
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYI 5 5

    Mar 21 7:39 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    NEW JERSEY 1
    1ST PRD: NJD - (PP) TRAVIS ZAJAC 14 (BRIAN GIONTA, ZACH PARISE) 13:46

    Islanders 1, Devils 1  1st - 6:14Mar 21 7:31 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    NEW JERSEY 0
    1ST PRD: NYI - BLAKE COMEAU 7 (KYLE OKPOSO, RADEK MARTINEK) 4:46

    Islanders 1, Devils 0  1st - 15:14Mar 21 7:16 PM
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