April 2, 2002
ISLANDERS 4, DEVILS 2
By DAVE CALDWELL
UNIONDALE, N.Y., April 1 Oleg Kvasha rumbles toward the goal like a
freight train lurching out of a depot. He has been slow to gain the
acceptance from Islanders fans because it looks as if he is not
trying, even when he is.
Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur saw Kvasha grinding toward him
tonight and stopped a wrist shot. But Kvasha quickly collected the
rebound and scored the first of two goals in a 43-second span of the
third period that helped the Islanders post a 4-2 come-from-behind
victory over the Devils.
After Kvasha tied the score at 2-2 on his 10th goal at 6 minutes 11
seconds, Shawn Bates scored the winning goal on a breakaway at 6:54.
Devils defenseman Colin White mishandled a pass from Sergei Brylin,
and the puck caromed to center ice, where the speedy Bates tracked it
Bates beat Brodeur for his 16th goal of the season, but only his
third in his last 32 games.
The Islanders (37-27-7-4), outshot tonight by 41-22, added an empty-
net goal by Kenny Jonsson to reclaim a 2-point lead over the Devils
(35-28-9-4) for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders
have played one game fewer than the Devils.
Tonight's victory before a sellout crowd of 16,234 at Nassau Coliseum
was only the fourth game the Islanders have won in which they trailed
after two periods.
The Islanders 2-2-0-1 against the Devils this season can clinch
their first playoff spot in eight years by earning 5 points in their
last seven games.
The return of defenseman Adrian Aucoin gave the Islanders a
psychological lift. He missed Saturday's 4-2 loss to Washington
because of a bruised heel, and the Islanders played passively.
Also returning to bolster the Islanders' defense was Eric Cairns, who
had completed his two-game suspension for punching Ottawa's Radek
Devils Coach Kevin Constantine stayed with the line combinations he
used late in Saturday's victory over Toronto. Petr Sykora was on John
Madden's line, and Jamie Langenbrunner skated on a line with Joe
Nieuwendyk and Patrik Elias. Nieuwendyk's line was on the ice for the
first goal, but the Islanders were the ones celebrating.
Aleksei Yashin scored his 32nd goal of the season and the 250th of
his career on a magnificent play at 10:23 of the first period. Yashin
took a pass from Mark Parrish and held on to the puck, even though
Bates was looking to receive a pass in front of the net.
Yashin skated a loop around the Devils' defense, moving around
Langenbrunner before lifting the puck over the left shoulder of
The game then got contentious as Aucoin and Scott Gomez each received
a minor penalty for high-sticking at 16:05 of the period.
With 1:22 left in the period, Elias got into a brief fight with
Darren Van Impe in front of the Islanders' bench. Elias, who had only
27 penalty minutes entering the game, does not include fighting on
his list of skills.
Bobby Holik locked up with Van Impe behind the Islanders' net, and
Holik thumped into goaltender Chris Osgood on his way back up the
ice. Osgood bumped him back, then Brad Isbister slammed into Holik,
starting a scuffle.
Isbister ended up with two penalties, and the Devils had another
power play. Osgood, who stopped Brian Rafalski's hard slap shot
earlier in the period, made back-to-back saves on Brian Gionta and
Scott Stevens in the final seconds of the first period. But the
Devils were rolling.
Holik scored his 25th goal 3:05 into the second period after the
Devils worked hard to keep the puck in the Islanders' zone. Osgood
stopped Stevens's long shot, but the puck ricocheted off Osgood and
sat in front of the net. Gomez swept it in, but he briefly lost
control and had to take a shot from a bad angle.
That extra second gave Holik a chance to get in front of Osgood, and
Gomez's shot bounced off Holik. The puck rolled off Osgood and
slipped into the net.
Osgood then drew a penalty for the second straight game. He tripped
Jay Pandolfo, and Brylin scored a power-play goal at 5:24. Sté°¨ane
Richer stormed in alone on Osgood, and Osgood had to slide to a side
of the net to challenge him. At the last possible second, Richer
whipped a pass across the crease to Brylin, who smacked in his 14th
Sykora and Elias were then called for penalties, giving the Islanders
their first power plays of the game. But Yashin lost the puck in
front of Brodeur on the first, and the Islanders were outshot on the