Jaromir Jagr scored his 700th career NHL goal to help the New Jersey Devils cruise past the New York Islanders 6-1 Saturday afternoon at the Nassau Coliseum. The penalty kill was the biggest problem for the home team as four of New Jersey’s goals came with the man-advantage.
“If you give up four goals on the power play, you aren’t going to win,” admitted Isles’ coach Jack Capuano.
The first period was a tight game played close to the vest. The only goal came exactly 5:00 into the contest when Adam Henrique scored on the power play to make it 1-0 New Jersey. The Islanders outshot the Devils 10-8 in the period and had a few quality scoring chances that Martin Brodeur was able to stop.
In the second period, however, the game got out of hand. New Jersey scored four times in the period to put the game out of reach. Two of the goals came on the power play.
History was made 3:31 into the second stanza when Jagr scored from a tough angle to make it 2-0 Devils. The goal was the 700th of Jagr’s NHL career making him only the seventh player in NHL history to reach that milestone. The puck actually deflected into the net off the skate of Isles’ defenseman Brian Strait.
Ryane Clowe made it 3-0 New Jersey just 1:09 later and just 10 seconds after the start of a New Jersey power play. The one-timer came off a pretty no-look pass by Henrique who was one of five Devils to finish the game with a goal and an assist.
The only Isles’ goal of the game came at 6:14 of the second period when Kyle Okposo set up just outside the crease and deflected a Thomas Vanek shot past Brodeur to make it 3-1 and give the Isles some hope.
That hope was dashed 1:53 later when Marek Zidlicky blasted a shot from the point that beat Evgeni Naokov. That goal came just 14 seconds after rookie Mike Halmo was sent to the penalty box for delay of game.
“It wasn’t anything other than the penalty kill,” Nabokov said. “The goaltending is a part of it and it wasn’t good enough.”
Mark Fayne made it 5-1 New Jersey when he potted his third goal of the season with 5:06 left in the second period. The game, for all intents and purposes, was over.
Nabokov was pulled after two periods of play after allowing five goals on just 19 shots. Anders Nilsson, who was just recalled from Bridgeport prior to the game, played the third period. Nilsson stopped 15-of-16 shots.
In the third period, the Islanders’ frustrations boiled over. Travis Hamonic received 27 penalty minutes with 4:37 left in the game when he went after New Jersey’s Ryan Carter. Hamonic received 2:00 for instigating, 5:00 for fighting, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct. Carter was not penalized on the play.
Just over three minutes later, Eric Boulton followed Hamonic to the locker room when he received a cross checking minor and a 10-minute misconduct. The Devils controlled play in the third period and outshot the Islanders 16-6.
After the game, the Islanders looked for anything redeeming to say about their poor performance. “We were sticking up for each other, which was good to see,” said rookie defenseman Calvin de Haan.
Kyle Okposo was just pleased the team played again tomorrow afternoon which would give them a chance to erase the memory of today’s game quickly.
Faceoff is at 3:00 PM tomorrow afternoon when the Islanders host the Florida Panthers.
Attendance was 15,512
The other six players to score 700-or-more career goals are: Wayne Gretzky (894), Gordie Howe (801), Brett Hull (741), Marcel Dionne (731), Phil Esposito (717) and Mike Gartner (708).