Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) – Brian Rolston scored in the sixth round of the shootout to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
After Matt Martin was stopped by Martin Brodeur, Rolston skated down the middle and moved to the left before snapping the puck past Al Montoya for the win.
“It seemed like he was moving pretty well to the backhand side,” said Rolston. “So I just tried to freeze him and got around him to the forehand. But if Marty (Brodeur) doesn’t make all those saves we don’t have the opportunity to win.”
Rolston also scored in regulation while Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and an assist for the Devils, who are an incredible 20-2-2 since losing the first four games of 2011. Brodeur stopped 20 shots in the win.
The remarkable turnaround has moved the Devils, who at one point sat in the basement of the NHL standings, to seven points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau each had a goal for the Islanders, who had won their previous two coming into the game. Montoya made 27 stops.
“The guys played great in front of me and made it pretty simple,” said Montoya. “You’ve gotta like the effort out there, but it still would have been nice to get the two points.”
After a scoreless first period, the Devils drew blood 4:09 into the second on the power play when Rolston’s blast from the top of the right circle made its way through traffic.
The Isles, though, used a power-play marker of their own to tie the game with 2:54 left in the second as a wrister from the right circle by Bailey sailed past the glove of Brodeur.
Kovalchuk gave New Jersey a 2-1 lead 2:52 into the third when Jacob Josefson left a drop pass for at the right circle and Kovalchuk’s wrister went through the five-hole of Montoya for his 24th goal.
However, New York tied the game again with 3:42 left in regulation as a broken pass saw the puck trickle to the slot where Comeau snapped it home.
New Jersey hosts Ottawa on Tuesday…The Isles host Toronto on Tuesday…Each team has won twice in the season series…New Jersey scored on its only power play while the Isles were 1-for-3 on the advantage.