ELMONT, N.Y. — The New York Islanders picked up their first win at home on Saturday night, defeating the New Jersey Devils 4-2 at UBS Arena. The victory moves the Islanders record to 7-11-5 on the season.
How it Happened: Zach Parise’s second-period shorthanded goal served as the game-winner in the New York Islanders first win at UBS Arena. As the Islanders cleared the puck out of their end, Jean-Gabriel Pageau was able to make a spinning pass and spring Parise free for the breakaway. The veteran forward put the puck through the legs of Akira Schmid to put New York ahead 3-2.
Jean Gabriel Pageau sealed the win when he scored off a feed from Oliver Wahlstrom at 9:37 of the third period to make it a 4-2 game. Wahlstrom forced the turnover at the New Jersey blue line and quickly moved the puck into the offensive zone.
Earlier in the second Andy Greene helped the Islanders tie the game at two with a wicked wrist shot. The former New Jersey Devils defenseman took a pass from Mathew Barzal and skated to the top of the far side faceoff circle before firing it past Schmid at 8:33.
New York and New Jersey traded a flurry of goals late in the first period to open the scoring. A bad turnover in the offensive zone by Scott Mayfield allowed New Jersey to charge the other way and Jesper Bratt was able to beat Ilya Sorokin. The New Jersey lead lasted all of 44 seconds before the New York Islanders found an answer.
Noah Dobson fired a blast from up to six seconds into an Islanders’ power play to tie the game at one. New Jersey would regain the lead a short while later when Jack Hughes scored off a wrist shot to give his side a 2-1 lead.
A Long Time Coming: The New York Islanders finally got the monkey off their back and picked up their first win at UBS Arena. The win snapped an eight-game winless streak at home and prevented them from tying the franchise’s longest home winless streak, which was eight and set in 2013.
The win was a momentous moment for the Islanders organization, which had been desperately searching for its first win in its new $1.1 billion home at Belmont Park. New York had suffered one of its most crushing defeats at home in its last game when a lead and at least one point slipped away in the final seconds of the third.
— Christian Arnold (@C_Arnold01) December 12, 2021
Parise Finally Scores: It was a special moment for Zach Parise in his tenure with the New York Islanders. The snakebitten forward finally found the back of the net for the first time in his 23rd game as a member of the organization. The goal came on a shorthanded breakaway and served as the game-winning goal in the much-needed win.
Pageau certainly looked relieved as he celebrated with his teammates after coming close on several occasions during the course of the season. What made the moment even more special? Saturday would have been Islanders legend and Zach Parise’s father, J.P. Parise’s 80th birthday.
Must Win was Won: The New York Islanders needed that win on Saturday in the worst way. After the heartbreaking defeat the team suffered on Thursday night, New York had to rebound against a New Jersey team that was beatable. Add into the mix they were without Nico Hischier and Ryan Graves, and they were starting a rookie goaltender making his NHL debut, anything short of two points would have not been acceptable.
The Islanders played well on Saturday night. They blocked shots — 18 to be exact — and took away New Jersey chances. Ilya Sorokin made 30 saves and held off the opposing side when the Islanders needed him to make a stop. New York also limited New Jersey’s high danger chances 5-on-5 to just six, according to Natural Stat Trick. Of the six, only one came in the third period.
Quotables: Zach Parise, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mathew Barzal, Noah Dobson and Barry Trotz addressed the media following Saturday’s win.
“I think we all had the chills at the end. It started at the anthem and just hearing everyone coming up together and singing. I think we feel it on the bench. They were there the whole game, even when we were trailing you could hear them cheering for us and it was amazing to feel them behind us.” — Jean-Gabriel Pageau on the fans at UBS Arena.
“I had my mad I think right when I got the puck where I was going to go. Looking back on last game after I saw it I should have done the same thing, but I kind of came in at a different angle. When you look back at games when you lose by one goal and you have opportunities you don’t score everyone wants to contribute and we’ve been working hard trying to win games. From an individual standpoint when you’re not producing and losing by that one goal or one shot it starts to get a little frustrating, but as a group, we’ve really picked each other up. We’ve been supportive of each other and to come out, and let’s face it was as close to a must-win that we’ve had all season, so to come out and finally give our home crowd a win is really important for us. — Zach Parise on his first goal as an Islander.
“That’s a huge boost. We’ve obviously been hit by some ugly scenarios this year and to almost have a full roster back, with the exception of (Pulock) that’s obviously a boost. (Nelson) has obviously been elite for us the last few years and (Cizikas)obviously does what he does. To have those guys back like you saw tonight, I thought both those guys did a good job getting their feet wet earlier and Nelly had some good chances. He was doing his thing. It’s just nice to have the whole group back together and hopefully, we can get on a little run here.” — Mathew Barzal on the return of Casey Cizikas and Brock Nelson.
“It was awesome to see Greener get one, especially his old team. He had a couple of shots tonight and it was definitely nice to see him bury one. You could see the excitement on his face especially to see him score against his old team is huge to us.” — Noah Dobson on Andy Greene’s goal.
“He was on the Pageau line and they got pretty good minutes against Hughes’ line. Different things, they were on the power play, both power plays. He’s playing a straight-line game, which he’s using people. He’s got his head up, his awareness is getting better. Right now we have some people who are good players, but aren’t playing and this is the back pressure you have when you have an almost healthy lineup. Wahlly will have to continue to produce and play well as some of the other guys. Hopefully, we can stay healthy and we’re just going to worry about the next game. We have one win. We’re still looking up and the view never changes unless in you’re front, and we’re not in front. So the view is not going to change until we start winning some hockey games.” — Barry Trotz on Oliver Wahlstrom’s game.
Up Next: The New York Islanders travel to Detroit to take on the Detroit Red Wings at 7:30 p.m.