NEWARK, New Jersey — After a slow start to the season under new coach John Hynes, the New Jersey Devils are finding ways to win.
The Devils earned their sixth win in seven games, getting goals from Mike Cammalleri and Jacob Josefson in the shootout to beat the New York Islanders 3-2 on Saturday.
This was not a textbook win. New Jersey squandered a 2-0 first-period lead, did little in the final 40 minutes of regulation despite the Islanders being without an ill John Tavares and prevailed because goaltender Cory Schneider came up big.
"Our structure and detail and effort is allowing us to neutralize the other team or stay in the game or keep it tied and then get it to a place where we can be opportunistic and come up with a win whether it's late in a game, 3-on-3 or the shootout," said Schneider, who had 24 saves. "We're having guys who are taking advantage of those moments to come up with big plays and big goals.
Schneider also had big saves, with the best being a glove stop on Kyle Okposo late in the third period. He also had one on Frans Nielsen in the overtime with a little help from defenseman Damon Severson, who got the puck away from the goal line.
"We think we understand what it takes to try to give yourself a win," Cammalleri said. "That's what feels good about that. Within that, you can find ways to win."
John Moore and Bobby Farnham each scored their first goal of the season New Jersey, which lost all four games to the Islanders last season.
Anders Lee and Nielsen scored in regulation for New York, which dominated the final two periods.
"This is a crazy game because that's probably the best overall game we've played all year," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said.
Nielson scored for New York's first attempt in the shootout. Schneider stopped Okposo and Kyle Clutterbuck and Josh Bailey hit the post.
After Adam Henrique was stopped by Jaroslav Halak, Josefson scored. Lee Stempniak hit the crossbar on the third attempt and Cammalleri ended it with his backhander.
Capuano said Tavares has not looked good in recent days.
"When we got here this morning, just talking to him, he wasn't right so we just wanted to make sure he got evaluated," he said of the team's leading scorer and captain. "We should know more tonight (or) first thing tomorrow. ... My guess it's just an illness."
Down 2-0, New York used its special teams to tie the game in the second period. Lee scored on a power play at 1:39 and Nielsen tallied an unassisted short-handed goal midway through the period.
Former Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky set up Lee's third of the season, finding the forward with a pass right in the crease. Schneider stopped Lee's initial shot but he couldn't get the rebound.
Neilsen beat Schneider with a great shot over his shoulder from the right circle.
Farnham, who was claimed on waivers from Pittsburgh on Monday, had a goal and an assist in the first period of his Devils' debut. His assist came at 2:51 when Moore scored his first goal with New Jersey. Farnham took the initial shot, and Stempniak was stopped on the rebound before Moore swatted a loose puck in the crease past Halak.
Farnham, who played for Hynes at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL, got his first NHL goal with a snap shot from the left circle at 14:36. Stephen Gionta missed the net with a hard shot between the circles and the puck ricocheted off the end boards right to Farnham for a shot into an open side of the net.
NOTES: The Devils scratched right wing Jiri Tlusty with an upper body injury. ... The Islanders called up forward Taylor Beck from Bridgeport of the AHL on an emergency basis with Tavares out and Ryan Strome missing two of the last three games with an injury. Strome played and Beck was scratched. .... The Islanders have a power-play goal in five straight games.