NEWARK — The Devils’ penalty kill is ranked last in the NHL, but it stymied the Islanders for a second straight game.
The Islanders went 0-for-4 with nine shots in Saturday’s 3-2 win at Prudential Center. They had five shots on their first power play and progressively stagnated in their next three chances.
This followed an 0-for-5 with six shots in Thursday’s 5-3 win over the Devils.
Coach Barry Trotz took issue with his forwards for not trying to get the puck to defenseman Ryan Pulock, who has the hardest shot on the team.
"We had chances early and then I think it got stalled out by a couple of forwards on the flank," Trotz said. "We had it teed up a couple of times. We’ve got one of the guys that has the biggest shots in the league in Ryan Pulock and he’s locked and loaded and we’re not giving him the puck."
Taking it on the chin
Josh Bailey needed stitches in his chin and missed half of the second period after getting cut by Janne Kuokkanen’s skate blade. Kuokkanen dived to push the puck in at the Islanders’ crease at 1:04 and Bailey, a step late to defend, fell face-first toward Kuokkanen’s skates. He returned at 12:54.
Martin gets a look
Matt Martin’s identity on the Islanders’ identity-setting fourth line is that of a physical player who will defend his teammates.
But the longtime fan favorite has game, too. He entered Saturday night’s rematch with the Devils at Prudential Center with five goals in his first 27 games. That matched the five goals he had in 22 postseason games last season in the Islanders’ run to the Eastern Conference finals.
And Martin was the first player Trotz used to replace Anders Lee’s net-front presence on the first power-play unit after the captain injured his right leg in the first period of Thursday’s 5-3 win over the Devils at Nassau Coliseum.
"I felt like I was in junior again," Martin said. "It’s not the way you necessarily want to be on the power play. I’m just trying to make the most of it."
Trotz tried several players who don’t typically get power-play ice time on the man advantage, including Michael Dal Colle. There’s no guarantee Martin will get the bulk of Lee’s role, but Trotz is open to the idea.
"He’s got a good hockey IQ," Trotz said. "He’s a big body. He’s got courage and he’s got strength around the net. And he’s been able to do some stuff in small spaces. We will start there."
Added Jordan Eberle, "He’s got a very underrated shot that he doesn’t get enough credit for."
This weekend marks the third and fourth games back at Prudential Center for former Devils captain Andy Greene. The Devils did a video tribute for him in his first game as a visitor, a 2-0 Islanders loss on Jan. 24.
"I’d never been through that before," the defenseman said. "But once the puck drops, it’s hockey and you get settled into the game."
Trotz had said he would split goalies this weekend, meaning Ilya Sorokin will start Sunday against the Devils, the 10th game in a row in which Trotz has alternated goalies . . . Brock Nelson was given an "A" as alternate captain with captain Anders Lee injured . . . Nelson’s five-game point streak and four-game goal streak were snapped . . . Eberle assisted on both of Kieffer Bellows’ goals . . . Michael Dal Colle logged a season-low 5:56 . . . Referee Justin St. Pierre suffered an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return. That left Pierre Lambert as the lone referee.