NEWARK — After 20 games, the Islanders were 6-10-4 and their big free-agent forward additions, Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera, had totaled three goals.
Ladd has 22 now and Chimera, never known as a big scorer throughout his 16-year NHL career, scored his 19th Saturday in a big spot. It gave the Islanders a three-goal lead early in the third period of their 4-2 victory over the Devils as they earned another do-or-die two points.
“We would be nowhere near the situation we’re in now without those two guys,” Doug Weight said of the team’s two most veteran forwards. “We lost Kyle [Okposo], we lost Matty [Martin], we lost Frans [Nielsen]. Those guys come in . . . I’ve been there. It’s extremely tough. But they’re two huge pieces of what we’ve done the last three months.”
The fact that Chimera is one away from a second straight 20-goal season after scoring 20 in his final year with the Capitals is something, especially considering his one goal in the first 21 games as an Islander.
“Ladder and I, we did some soul-searching,” Chimera said. “We both have a lot of pride and we wanted to make a difference. You come to a new team and you want to make an impression right off the bat. I’m glad we were able to contribute.”
Elias takes a final lap
Patrik Elias took one final spin with his old team before Saturday’s game a week after announcing his retirement. The Devils’ all-time leader in goals, assists and points hasn’t played since last season but got to take one final turn with his No. 26 during warm-ups before that jersey heads to the Prudential Center rafters next season.
Elias was all smiles until he was surprised by his wife and two young daughters for the ceremonial puck drop. He said he welled up a bit seeing them and getting a hug from Isles center Stephen Gionta, who took the faceoff to represent the visitors.
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