Islanders' Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44), center, carries a hat on his...

Islanders' Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44), center, carries a hat on his stick to celebrate his hat trick during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils in Newark, N.J., Sunday, April 3, 2022.  Credit: AP/Seth Wenig

NEWARK — Cory Schneider has started in the Stanley Cup Final for the Canucks and was the longtime No. 1 goalie for the Devils. Yet it had been more than two years since he had appeared in the NHL, and he knew there were no guarantees he would ever do so for the Islanders.

He wouldn’t have gotten a chance if Ilya Sorokin hadn’t suffered a head injury a week ago, and with the Russian close to returning, Schneider might not get another game. But he savored Sunday’s chance, stopping 27 shots as the Islanders won their season-high fourth straight game, beating the Devils, 4-3, at Prudential Center.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau had his fourth career hat trick, his second in the regular season and his first as an Islander. Linemate Kyle Palmieri, also a former Devil, added what proved to be the game-winning goal and two assists.

“It’s funny. A little over two years ago was my last game in the league in this building,” said Schneider, whose last appearance for the Devils was a 4-2 win over the Blues at Prudential Center on March 6, 2020. “I don’t know if it’s fate or coincidence. I’m just grateful for the opportunity. You just don’t know after last year, you’re not sure where your future is in your career at that point or if you’ll get another opportunity. I thank my wife and kids for pushing me and encouraging me to keep going.”

The Islanders (32-27-9), who have won the first two games of their five-game road trip, are on an 11-3-1 run as they keep their faint playoff hopes alive.

“It’s amazing,” Pageau said of Schneider, whose extended family was in the stands. “He’s had a couple of years without a win. To come back here in Jersey, we couldn’t be more happy. He’s an amazing teammate to everyone. We couldn’t ask for more for him to get the win today.”

Schneider is on emergency recall from the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, where he is 10-10-3 with a 2.68 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. The 36-year-old is on his second one-year contract with the Islanders after the Devils bought out the final two seasons of his seven-year, $42 million deal as he struggled with hip and groin injuries.

“I’ve been his teammate going back a long time now,” said Palmieri, who made it 4-2 at 14:53 of the third period off Pageau’s feed. “He’s such an awesome guy. You watch him through the good times and the bad times and he comes in with a smile and he works hard. It’s been a tough road back for him going back to his surgery.”

Pageau opened the scoring at 11:56 of the first period, taking a feed from Palmieri on a transition rush after the Devils turned the puck over in the neutral zone. His power-play goal at 14:00 of the first made it 2-0 as he got to the crease to pop in the puck after Anders Lee directed it there. Pageau completed his natural hat trick by shoveling in defenseman Adam Pelech’s feed from the corner to make it 3-0 at 14:58 of the second period.

Pageau’s last hat trick also came at Prudential Center in a 4-2 win for the Senators on Nov. 13, 2019.

Several hats flew from the stands as Islanders fans celebrated, including one that landed on Pageau’s stick blade.

“That was cool,” he said. “I was almost more happy to catch the hat. It just made everyone laugh.”

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