Strome has 2 goals and assist as Islanders beat Devils 6-4
- Devils C Zajac sidelined 4-to-6 months
- Sabres keep Girgensons for $3.2M, 2 yrs.
- Oilers sign Draisaitl for 8 years, $68M
- Lightning donate funds to statue removal
- Wild sign ex-Penguin Cullen to $1M deal
By VIN A. CHERWOO
NEW YORK (AP) Ryan Strome helped the New York Islanders quickly bounce back from a disappointing loss at New Jersey the previous night to get a big home win against the Devils.
Strome had two goals and an assist to lead the Islanders to a 6-4 victory over the Devils on Sunday night in a chippy game that featured hard hits and a lot of pushing and shoving after whistles.
New Jersey won 3-2 at home on Saturday night in the opener of the home-and-home set, the teams' first two meetings of the season.
"I felt we probably played better yesterday, but so did they," New York interim coach Doug Weight said. "We had some big plays at the right times. ... It was physical, it was hard hockey. There'll be ice bags after that weekend. Coming out of yesterday, it was a big win."
John Tavares, Andrew Ladd, Casey Cizikas and Jason Chimera also scored to help the Islanders improve to 9-0-2 in their last 11 at home. Jean-Francois Berube stopped 26 shots as New York pulled one point out of a playoff spot - into a tie with Florida behind Toronto, which sits in the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Just a month ago, the Islanders were mired in last place in the conference.
"We still had confidence that we had a pretty good team in here that could do some damage," said Ladd, has four goals over the last three games. "It took a lot of hard work to get back to where we're at, but we're still fighting for our lives. It keeps going on and we've got to keep finding ways to win."
The Islanders, tied with Carolina and Dallas for the fewest road wins at 7-13-4, now play nine straight road games over a 19-day stretch due to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Atlantic Coast Conference men's college basketball tournament at Barclays Center.
"Hopefully we can get on the road and get together as a team and start to be that good road team that we can be," Weight said.
Taylor Hall had a goal and two assists, Kyle Palmieri added a goal and an assist, and Miles Wood and Joseph Blandisi also scored for the Devils, and Keith Kinkaid finished with 26 saves. New Jersey had won six straight on the road and were 8-0-1 in their last nine away from Prudential Center.
"We did a good job coming back," Devils coach John Hynes said. "I thought tonight we played very well at times - the way we played, the way we competed."
After the Devils scored twice 4 1/2 minutes apart in the second period to trim a 4-1 deficit to one, Tavares and Chimera scored twice 34 seconds apart in the opening minute of the third to help the Islanders pull away again.
Tavares converted a feed from Strome from the right circle on a power play for his 21st at 26 seconds to push New York's lead to 5-3. Chimera then scored on a breakaway for his 15th at the 1-minute mark.
"It was a gritty effort," Strome said. "A lot guys stepped up and did good things."
Hall scored from the left circle on a power play for his 14th at 8:37 to pull the Devils to 6-4.
Cizikas put the Islanders ahead 2-1 at 2:44 of the second as he brought the puck around the back of the net with the Devils' Jon Merrill defending him, and backhanded the puck from the left side between Kinkaid's skates for his seventh.
Strome scored at 9:32 for his 11th of the season and his second career two-goal game. Ladd made it 4-1 with a short-handed goal as he beat Kinkaid low to his blocker side for his 16th with 8:01 left.
Palmieri took a pass from Travis Zajac in the left circle, spun and fired the puck past Berube for his 16th with 6:39 to go in the middle period.
Steven Santini's slap shot from the right circle deflected up off Blandisi and over Berube, who tried to dive back to stop it, with 2:05 left to make it 4-3.
Wood gave the Devils a 1-0 lead at 9:15 of the first period. Strome tied it with about 5 1/2 minutes left on a rebound with Dennis Seidenberg getting his 199th career assist on the play.
NOTES: One day after being a healthy scratch for the first time in his career, Devils LW Michael Cammalleri sat out again. ... New Jersey D Kyle Quincey missed his sixth straight game with an upper-body injury. ... The teams play two more times this season, back in Brooklyn on March 31 and at New Jersey on April 8. ... The Islanders, who will return to Brooklyn on March 13 against Carolina, play 17 of their last 24 games on road. ... Ladd has eight goals and two assists in the last 12 games.
Devils: Host Ottawa on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game homestand.
Islanders: At Detroit on Tuesday night to start a stretch of eight road games in 19 days.
Follow Vin Cherwoo at www.twitter.com/VinCherwooAP
Updated February 19, 2017