What Happened: The New Jersey Devils dropped their home opener to the New York Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. The Islanders twice battled back from one goal deficits, behind two goals by Michael Grabner, before Frans Nielsen tied the game up at three, only 1:01 into the third period. The Devils battled back with a third period goal by Damien Brunner to force overtime and the subsequent shootout.
Star of the Game: Michael Grabner is quickly becoming a big-time Devil killer. The speedy winger had the first two Islanders goals, then assisted on the Nielsen goal. His tremendous speed has plagued New Jersey in the past and tonight was no different. Also, a nod to Evgeni Nabakov for stopping six Devils shots in the shootout.
Goat of the Game: The Devils shooters during the shootout get the dubious honor tonight. Six shooters up, no goals scored. Considering how important that the extra point may be throughout the season, coming away without a single goal was tough. Also, Martin Brodeur stood on his head in the shootout and with any help, the Devils would have won.
Turning Point: Matt Moulson of the Islanders scored in the 6th round of the shootout to give New York the win. Until that point, it was a dead heat from the 7:34 mark of the third.
Offense- B - As a whole, the forwards were better last night. They created chances and they finished, something they weren't able to do against Pittsburgh. In the neutral zone, the team seemed to be a bit off. The Devils allowed far too many odd-man rushes. Those kinds of things happen because of breakdowns at neutral ice and with time, those mistakes will be corrected. They passed the puck well and had a plethora of scoring chances late in the third that could have won the game in regulation. Damien Brunner is starting to quickly show why the Devils brought him in. He has a relentless motor and has a knack for making plays.
Defense- B - Again, not a terrible night for the d-corps, but not quite a stellar effort, either. Adam Larsson, who looked like he was on his way towards taking a big step forward during the preseason, had his second tough game in a row. He failed to pick up Grabner on his first period goal. Anton Volchenkov was decent once again and you have to give the defense credit for the two big penalty kills as well.
Special Teams - B-plus - The power play moved the puck, but was unable to score. At some point the power play will begin to click, as the new faces begin to work well together. As for the penalty kill, they were able to kill of two huge Islanders power plays, including one in the third period once the game was tied. If the PK can be a strength like it was two years ago, that will go a long way towards winning some games
Goaltending- B-plus - Martin Brodeur was solid in his return to the net for New Jersey. Though he would have liked to have had the first Grabner goal back after it slid under his pads, Brodeur was sensational when it mattered. The veteran netminder came up with some key saves late in regulation and in overtime. Normally, making five straight saves in a shootout would be plenty enough to get a win. Brodeur was great in the shootout as well. He gave the Devils a chance to win by keeping the game close down the stretch.
Instant Insight: The Devils certainly would have liked the second point tonight, but it wasn't in the cards. When Pete Deboer was asked if he thought the team played better in Pittsburgh on Thursday, he agreed with that statement. There are some things to clean up on either end, but this team will get a chance to work out the kinks during their five-game Canadian road trip.
Two games in and there are definitely some positives to take away. Now, it's about developing chemistry throughout the lineup.