The New York Islanders are coming into the regular season with a huge weight on their shoulders. Last season they surprised everyone with a playoff appearance and even gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a run for their money. So coming into this season the eyes have been on the Islanders to show if they are truly a contender in the NHL.
On Friday, October 4th, the Isles traveled to Newark, New Jersey to face their Metropolitan Division rivals, the New Jersey Devils. Only 02:59 into the first period, Damien Brunner gets one past Evgeni Nabokov to start the scoring for the Devils.
Michael Grabner eventually responded by skating the puck past a defender and squeezing the puck through Martin Brodeur's five hole, tying the game at 1-1. The rest of the first period consisted of big hits, difficult clears and shocking saves from both sides of the ice.
The second period showed to be a mirror image of the first. Both teams went back and forth fighting hard to get good dumps and an opportunity for a rebound. At 04:46 Michael Ryder capitalized on a rebound after a shot from the blue line. Ryder settled the puck and went for the top shelf beating Nabokov and once again giving the Devils a 2-1 lead.
Late in the period Michael Grabner once again upsets the Devils fans, tying the game at the 13:43 mark. Josh Bailey connects with Grabner who gets a breakaway down the right side of the ice. After a quick deke, Grabner rips the puck past the catching glove of Brodeur tying the game at 2-2.
Both teams seemed to turn up the heat going into the third period. Only 01:01 into the first, Frans Nielsen comes down to the left post with puck. He feeds it to the center for Grabner, who immediately feeds it back to Nielsen, who beats Brodeur with a backhand shot, giving the Islanders their first lead, 3-2.
The Devils would respond only after a the expiration of a power play opportunity. Just as Brock Nelson exited the penalty box after a hooking penalty, the Devils rip a shot from the blue line. Nabokov successfully bats the puck down but failed to cover it, allowing Damien Brunner who was camping in front of the net, to flip it in at the 07:34 mark.
The Islanders and the Devils would remain scoreless for the remainder of the third and for the overtime period. Going into the shootout, the Devils would elect to shoot first. After six rounds of great goaltending, Matt Moulson weaved down the ice, going to the top shelf on Brodeurs pad side to win the game.
Islanders start their season at 1-0-0 and play their first home game tonight in the Nassau Coliseum against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The puck drops at 07:00 EST.