Matt Martin scored about three minutes into the game Thursday night for the host New York Islanders, who never trailed as they continued their surge with a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils at Nassau Coliseum.
Adam Pelech scored later in the first, Noah Dobson and Josh Bailey scored in the second and Brock Nelson added a goal in the third for the Islanders, who raced out to 4-0 lead while winning their seventh straight and improving to 9-0-1 in their last 10 games.
Goalie Ilya Sorokin made 19 saves as the Islanders played their first home game in front of fans since March 7, 2020. The team welcomed 1,000 frontline health care workers.
Janne Kuokkanen, Mikhail Maltsev and Jack Hughes scored in the third period for the Devils, who have lost 10 of 12 (2-9-1). Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood recorded 29 saves.
The Islanders used traffic in front of Blackwood to their advantage in taking a 2-0 lead in the first. Blackwood was screened by four players — two from each team — when Martin’s shot from just in front of the blue line bounced between his legs at 3:15, and again when Pelech’s shot, also from just in front of the blue line, sailed past him with 10:06 left.
The Islanders extended the lead on what amounted to an own goal for the Devils. Dobson was credited for the goal with 5:55 remaining in the second because he was the last New York player to touch the puck before Damon Severson tried pulling the puck out of the crease but accidentally nudged it into the net.
A turnover by Severson led to Bailey’s goal 3:08 later. Casey Cizikas picked up the loose puck after Severson lost control following a forecheck by Martin. Cizikas dished to Bailey, who tucked a shot into the corner of the net.
The Devils scored twice in a span of 80 seconds early in the third when Kuokkanen put back the rebound of a shot by P.K. Subban at the 3:23 mark, and Maltsev backhanded a shot from the faceoff circle past a screened Sorokin.
But the Islanders called timeout and Nelson scored on the next shift with 15:16 left. Hughes added a goal with 4:08 remaining.