The New York Islanders were looking to continue their winning ways against the New Jersey Devils today in a Super Bowl Sunday matinee but came up short, surrendering three late goals in the third period for a final score of 3-0.
Special teams would be a key factor in this game, as the Islanders had a handful of power play chances in the first period that they were unable to connect on. In the end, a charging penalty on Isles defenseman, Brian Strait would ultimately lead to all three goals scored by the Devils. Steven Bernier received a bouncing puck off an Adam Henrique shot and was easily able to roof it over a sprawled Evgeni Nabokov, who had 24 saves on the night. Adam Greene had the secondary assist.
Just over a minute later, Bernier would strike again, this time at even-strength with the assists coming from Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta.
David Clarkson would add an empty netter, which also gave Greene another helper for the night.
The New York Islanders opened their abbreviated 48-game season tonight with a 2-1 regulation loss at home to the defending Eastern Conference champs, the New Jersey Devils.
A sold out crowd was introduced to the 2012-2013 roster before puck drop. However, head coach Jack Capuano was missing, forcing assistant coach Doug Weight to take over along with Brent Thompson. Capuano missed the game due to a medical reason that was not disclosed to the media. It had been mentioned in the locker room that it is not life threatening, and that an update will likely be provided tomorrow.
But for the Isles, playing without their head coach behind the bench might have thrown the team for a bit of loop by the time the first period was underway. The Isles provided a lot of sloppy play in their end of the ice which resulted in poorly executed break outs and many mistakes in the neutral zone.
The Islanders still remain without a complete roster for this upcoming season and one of the biggest names missing at this point is Matt Martin.
Martin is coming off of his rookie entry level deal and is looking to be signed long-term much like some of the other young Islanders core pieces. Drafted in the 5th round (148th Overall) in 2008, Martin has been a great late round gem for Garth Snow.
The only Flyer playing with any "jam" was the only one who doesn't have the ability to score goals.
The Devils exhausted Ilya Bryzgalov by controlling the game against a flat Flyers team, winning 4-1 in Game 2 and evening the series up heading to North Jersey.
The Flyers wasted a brilliant first two periods by Bryzgalov, who was worn down by the constant Devils rush presented to him.
“I think he was our best player by far tonight and one of the best games I’ve seen him play in a long time," said forward Eric Wellwood. "I think it shows a lot of confidence that he stopped the puck and everything. I wish we could have gotten the win for him.”