Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Anders Nilsson kept the visiting New Jersey Devils to just one goal and Frans Nielsen secured a 2-1 Islander win in the shootout Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.
The victory was the Islanders third in their last four games and they have secured at least one point in the same span. The win also prevented the Devils from gaining ground in the playoff hunt, as they sit three points back from eighth in the Eastern Conference.
“I don’t think we gave them much,” said Islander coach Jack Capuano. “To have success you have to play your system. You have to play structured hockey. You have to play discipline hockey and I the guys are coming up and doing a good job.”
The Islanders controlled much of the first period. They outshot the Devils 9-2 in the opening period and outhit them 19-4. However the game remained scoreless until 2:12 into the second period. Nielsen drove to the net and the puck found its’ way past Cory Schneider and into the net to give the Islanders a 1-0.
New Jersey evened the score at one roughly eight minutes later off a rebound goal from Adam Henrique, but it would be the only goal Nilsson would surrender the rest of the game. He finished the game with 23 saves on the night — which included several big stops in the third with the Devils pressuring — and a save percentage of .958.
“It’s nice to bounce back with my game a little,” Nilsson said. “I tried to play a little calmer and I felt a difference in my game today. The guys helped me out a lot today. They didn’t have a lot and the shots they had were from the outside.
“The guys made it easy for me to play cause I saw most of the shots.”
In the shootout Nilsson stopped Henrique and Patrick Elias. Nielsen scored in the shootout using his well known backhand shot and Brock Nelson scored as well.
“You gotta get [the puck] all the way up over his glove,” Nielsen said about his shootout move. “It’s not easy, but it’s been working. So I might as well keep doing it.”
The Islanders return to action on Tuesday when they host the Florida Panthers at the Coliseum.