Before last night’s game, Devils coach Jacques Lemaire said he finally felt the timing was finally right to give Martin Brodeur—who has started 63 of 68 games this season—some well-deserved rest and insert backup Yann Danis for only his fifth start of the season.
The Islanders seemed glad to see their former teammate last night, scoring four times against him to halt a four-game skid and outlast the Devils 4-2 at Nassau Coliseum.
With the Islanders leading 3-1 in the third, sniper Ilya Kovalchuk scored in back-to-back games for his first time as a Devil with a blistering slapshot that pulled the Devils within a goal at 1:41 in the third period, but the Islanders refused to let another third-period lead evaporate.
Down a man after Dylan Reese’s four-minute high-sticking penalty, Sean Bergenheim scored his second shorthanded goal of the season on an odd-man rush that gave the Isles some insurance at 11:33.
Mike Mottau scored his second goal of the season after slipping a deep wrister past an unsuspecting Dwayne Roloson at 2:52 to give the Devils a 1-0 lead on their first shot of the game.
The Islanders recovered from a sluggish start, however, to score three consecutive goals against a shaky Danis.
Freddy Meyer tied the game later in the first period, and Jon Sim and Mark Streit combined for a pair in the second for a two-goal lead heading into the third.
Despite the requisite desire and urgency displayed by the playoff-bound Devils, the Islanders managed to thwart any late-game rallies.