Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro celebrates after time expired in his...

Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro celebrates after time expired in his team's 2-0 shutout of the Devils. It was the Isles' first win in 36 days. (Nov. 26, 2010) Credit: AP

The nightmare is over.

Boosted by Rick DiPietro's first shutout of the season, the Islanders snapped a 14-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over the Devils Friday at Nassau Coliseum.

DiPietro's 29-save performance and a tremendous third-period penalty-kill helped the Islanders avoid making history. One more loss would've tied their franchise-worst winless streak - a 15-game skein in 1972-73 that included three ties.

"I almost forgot how to smile," DiPietro said, alluding to the length of time that had passed since the Islanders' most recent win Oct. 21.

DiPietro's 16th career shutout lifted the slumping Islanders, who earned only three points during their 35 days of winless hockey. His previous shutout - a 4-0 victory at Nassau Coliseum Jan. 18 - also came against the Devils.

"He made some big saves," said Frans Nielsen, one of the game's unsung heroes. "He was great for us tonight."

Jesse Joensuu and Rob Schremp gave the Islanders their first two-goal lead since the fifth game of the season, a 5-2 win over Colorado at Nassau Coliseum on Oct. 16.

Joensuu, who was recalled from Bridgeport Nov. 19, scored his first NHL goal of the season at 1:32 of the first period, burying a nice feed from linemate Nielsen for an early lead.

In the second period, Blake Comeau connected with Schremp, who went top shelf on Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg for a two-goal cushion at 5:15.

With the two-goal lead in the third period, the Islanders' stingy penalty-kill delivered a crucial effort to protect DiPietro's shutout.

Less than a minute after Dylan Reese went to the penalty box for interference, fellow defenseman James Wisniewski incurred a four-minute double-minor for high-sticking Devils winger Mattias Tedenby at 11:06.

But despite being down two men for 58 seconds and down one for the remaining 3:02 of the penalty, the Islanders thwarted every attempt the Devils could muster. New Jersey did not have a shot on goal during the five-on-three.

"Kills like that can turn a season around," DiPietro said of the unit in front of him.

But interim coach Jack Capuano made sure DiPietro took his appropriate share of the credit.

"We did a great job shot-blocking, getting in lanes and taking away seams," he said. "But your best penalty-killer is your goaltender, and I thought Ricky was great."

In his fifth game since replacing Scott Gordon, Capuano earned his first victory as an NHL coach.

"I'm just happy for the guys,'' he said. "I thought they played extremely well in Atlanta and against Columbus and we didn't get two points, so this is a good feeling."

With the 14 losses behind them, the Islanders now have their sights set on making up ground.

"We can't just be satisfied with one win," Comeau said. "We can't act like we've won 14 in a row. We've got to realize what gave us success tonight."

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