Devils get first crack of season vs. nemesis Islanders

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The New Jersey Devils enjoyed their most prolific scoring output to date this season and they are hoping it was not an aberration.

Meanwhile, the Islanders can see the finish line on their historic 13-game road trip as their sparkling new arena gets ready for its grand opening next week.

Coming off an impressive scoring display, the Devils seek a season-high third straight win Thursday night when they host the Islanders, who are playing their 11th straight road game to begin the season.

Five of New Jersey’s first 10 games were one-goal contests, including the final two games of its West Coast trip when the Devils went past regulation against the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks.

The Devils returned home Tuesday and appeared headed for another tight game but scored twice in the first 5:13 of the third period and had five unanswered goals for a 7-3 victory over the red-hot Florida Panthers.

“We’ve been looking for offense,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “Hopefully we can use this as a springboard.”

Andreas Johansson started the outburst with his second goal of the game and defenseman P.K. Subban scored the tiebreaking goal. Pavel Zacha and Ty Smith scored in the third before Jimmy Vesey added an empty-net tally to seal New Jersey’s first seven-goal game since a 7-1 win at Chicago on Dec. 23, 2019.

“We had to outcompete them,” New Jersey’s Nico Hischier said. “I think we did a good job and, in the end, it’s a win that shows we can beat really good teams.”

New Jersey posted its most impressive win while defenseman Dougie Hamilton missed a third straight game with a lower-body injury that may keep him sidelined again Thursday.

The Islanders are 5-3-2 on their team-record road trip that will see them next visit Tampa Bay and Florida before facing the Calgary Flames in their home opener on Nov. 20.

The Islanders are playing their second game of the trip with at least three days off. Last week, they won two of three games that were played in a span of four days. New York scored eight combined goals in wins over the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets before taking a 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild.

“We had all four lines going (in Winnipeg), but today we were missing a couple lines,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said after they took their third loss by at least three goals this season.

Anders Lee scored twice against the Wild as the Islanders scored first for the eighth straight game. However, the Islanders allowed four goals — two in a span of 2:01 — in the third period when they were outshot 16-2. The final two goals came 58 seconds apart.

“We don’t know Minnesota, we don’t know Winnipeg as well, so it’s good to test our game against them,” Trotz said Tuesday. “But I think getting these divisional games will be good for us. They’re all four-pointers. There isn’t a game you don’t want to win.”

The Islanders have experienced plenty of winning against the Devils recently. They claimed a 5-1 victory in the final game of last season’s eight meetings and are 11-3-0 in the past 14 contests.

–Field Level Media

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