Lee, Beauvillier lead Islanders to 2-1 win over Devils
NEW YORK (AP) — Anders Lee got the Islanders off to a fast start with a big power-play goal early, and they held on for a needed win.
Anthony Beauvillier also scored to help New York preserve its slim playoff chances with a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night. Jaroslav Halak stopped 26 shots as the Islanders pulled four points behind Boston for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
The Islanders, coming off a 6-3 loss at Philadelphia the previous night, won at home for the first time since beating the Devils here on Feb. 19 — going 0-4-1 at Barclays Center in between.
“We needed to win tonight and we bounced back in a good way,” Beauvillier said. “We played a strong 60 minutes.”
However, the importance of the win may have been undermined by the potential loss of captain John Tavares, who left the game late in the third period after falling awkwardly while chasing a puck behind the Devils net.
Tavares immediately began clutching his left leg and had to be helped off the ice. Islanders’ interim head coach Doug Weight said Tavares would be reevaluated on Saturday.
“It didn’t look great,” Weight said. “He caught his foot on the back of the net and kind of jetted out there. Obviously lower body and hate to see it, but I’m always hopeful. We’ll let (the trainers) look at him and go from there.”
Adam Henrique scored and Keith Kincaid had 36 saves for the Devils, who are 2-13-4 in their last 19 games.
New Jersey took a season-high 10 penalties against the Islanders, including five in the first period. Devils head coach John Haynes appeared to believe that not all of the calls against his team were penalties.
“When you look at them some of them were penalties and some of them were not,” Haynes said. “I think you can live with getting calls on penalties that are penalties. That’s on us, but when the penalties are that lopsided and there’s some calls that are wrong that’s where you have to be able to control your emotion more. ... I thought we competed through that, but I thought that was a little bit of what went on here tonight.”
New York scored once on the 10 power-play chances.
Lee got the Islanders on the board 5:44 into the game. Johnny Boychuk fired the puck from the point right to Lee’s stick in front of the Devils’ net. Lee quickly shuffled the puck to his backhand and put it through Kincaid’s legs for his 29th of the season with New York on the man-advantage.
Beauvillier made it 2-0 late in the second off a cross-ice feed from fellow rookie Josh Ho-Sang. Jason Chimera started the rush after grabbing a rebound in the Islanders end and charging the other way. Chimera sent the puck up to Ho-Sang, who moved the puck over to Beauvillier in the right side faceoff circle for the goal. Chimera, who received the second assist on the play, recorded his 400th NHL point.
Henrique’s goal came with 8:37 left in the game when he cleaned up a rebound from the side of the net.
The Islanders have five games remaining — four on the road — in the regular season as they continue to fight to remain in the playoff chase. The Devils also have five games left but have been eliminated from playoff contention.
NOTES: Islanders D Travis Hamonic and C Casey Cizikas missed Friday’s game due to upper-body injuries. Both players suffered their injuries during Thursday’s 6-3 loss at Philadelphia. ... New York F Ryan Strome missed his fourth consecutive game with an upper-body injury and F Nikolay Kulemin sat out his third straight game because of an upper-body injury. ... Jacob Josefson has resumed skating with the Devils, but has missed 14 games. Devante Smith-Pelly is day-to-day with a lower body injury and has missed nine games. . F Michael Cammalleri returned to the Devils’ lineup after missing 13 games with an upper body injury.
Islanders: At Buffalo on Sunday.
Devils: At Philadelphia on Saturday night.