It was a long summer for New Jersey Devils forward Steve Bernier.
In the deciding Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Bernier hit Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi, leading to a five-minute major that eventually helped sink New Jersey’s comeback bid. He was seen by many as one of the goats of the game, and the lockout extended any opportunity to make up for that mistake.
Today at Nassau Coliseum, he did just that, scoring two third period goals to help New Jersey (4-1-3) defeat the New York Islanders (4-3-1), 3-0. The win broke a four-game losing streak for New Jersey, and gave them their second win on Long Island.
Johan Hedberg stopped 22 saves for his first shutout of the season. He’s allowed just one goal in his two starts this season (1-0-1).
Bernier’s first goal came on the powerplay with just under four minutes left in the third period. Andy Greene held the puck at the point, sending a shot toward the net. Adam Henrique deflected the shot in the slot, sending the puck toward an open Bernier in the left circle. He quickly shot the puck past Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov for his second goal of the season.
Just over a minute later, Bernier struck again, extending the lead to 2-0. Ryan Carter had the puck behind the goal line, sending a pass to Bernier below the right post. The Devils forward shot the puck off Nabokov’s hip and into the back of the net.
David Clarkson sealed the win for New Jersey, scoring an empty net goal with 22 seconds remaining. It was his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
Both Hedberg and Nabokov stymied the scorers, shutting down opportunities on both ends. Hedberg kept New Jersey in the game early, blocking a diving attempt by Michael Grabner in the first period. He followed that up with a block on John Tavares, keeping the Islanders off the board.
He came up big again in the final period, shutting down Grabner on a shorthanded breakaway. The Islanders forward picked off a pass from Ilya Kovalchuk, breaking in alone on Hedberg. He faked a shot and tried to slide the puck past the right pad, but the Devils goalie stayed with Grabner, going into a split and keeping the puck under his pad.
Nabokov answered with similar saves, including a point-blank stop on Patrik Elias in the second period. With the game scoreless, the Devils left wing intercepted a pass from Thomas Hickey. He moved into the slot, snapping a shot to the blocker side of Nabokov. The Islanders goalie made the stop, squeezing the puck and falling backward.
After allowing New York to go 3-for-4 on the powerplay in Thursday night’s overtime loss at Prudential Center, the Devils were a perfect 7-for-7 on the penalty kill. The Islanders entered the game first in the league on the powerplay, with a 37.5 conversion rate.
New Jersey ended its two-game road trip 1-1-0, and head back home for three straight games. The Devils begin the homestand with a matchup against the rival New York Rangers.
Hedberg has faced 50 shots this season, allowing just one regulation goal. His shutout today was the 22nd of his career.
The Islanders were 4-for-8 on the powerplay against the Devils this season.
Greene recorded two points today, and has three points (1g, 2a) in his last two games.