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Lazar Scores Winner with 23 Seconds Left as the Devils Rally Past the Islanders 5-4

November 29, 2023

NEWARK, N.J. — Curtis Lazar scored the winning goal with 23 seconds left and Akira Schmid made eight saves in relief as the New Jersey Devils rallied past the New York Islanders 5-4 on Tuesday night.

Lazar slid a loose puck past Ilya Sorokin for his fourth of the season to complete a three-goal comeback by the Devils in the third period.

“What a fun game to go back and forth. We found a way to win. It was a grind,” Lazar said. “To get those two points in regulation, it’s big for the hockey club.”

New York led 4-2 entering the third before Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier scored to tie it. Hughes got his seventh goal at 5:08, then Hischier netted his fourth on a power play at 11:10. Hughes also had two assists.

Michael McLeod and Dawson Mercer also scored for the Devils, who were coming off a 7-2 win over Buffalo last Saturday.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Vitek Vanecek, left, and New York Islanders’ Kyle Palmieri, right, track the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Newark, N.J., Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“We took advantage of our opportunities,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “I give our guys a lot of credit battling back.”

Mathew Barzal and Cal Clutterbuck scored 1:16 apart midway through the second to put the Islanders ahead 3-2 before Jean-Gabriel Pageau gave them a two-goal cushion at 13:05.

Bo Horvat also scored for the Islanders, who lost in regulation for the first time in seven games. Sorokin made 28 saves.

“I thought we played a really good 40 minutes, honestly. In the third, they get that one to make it 4-3 and we took an unfortunate penalty and they capitalized on it,” Horvat said. “Then, an unfortunate bounce at the end. Obviously, we wanted to get that one to overtime and get a point.”

Barzal and Noah Dobson had two assists apiece for New York. Barzal leads the team with 19 points.

With the Islanders trailing 2-1 in the second, Barzal scored his sixth of the season on a breakaway at 8:24 before Clutterbuck put New York ahead 3-2 off a scramble in front of Devils netminder Vitek Vanecek at 9:40. Clutterbuck’s goal was his third of the season, with assists to Casey Cizikas and Julien Gauthier. It was Gauthier’s first point with the Islanders.

Pageau made it 4-2 with his first goal of the season, assisted by Barzal and Alexander Romanov.

Pageau lamented the result after the Islanders turned a power play midway through the third into a 4-on-3 disadvantage by taking two quick penalties — a hooking call against Barzal at 10:35 and a tripping infraction on Simon Holmstrom at 10:56.

“Guys are not trying to take penalties, it just happens,” Pageau said. “We always look at ourselves in the mirror to see what we could have done better. I will do that myself.”

Schmid replaced Vanecek in net after Pageau’s goal. Vanecek allowed four goals on 18 shots.

Horvat opened the scoring at 5:16 of the first with a power-play goal, his sixth of the season. Dobson and Barzal assisted.

McLeod tied it at 10:29 with his fourth, assisted by Lazar. Mercer made it 2-1 at 4:19 of the second, finishing off a 2-on-1 with Hughes by rifling the puck past Sorokin for his fifth.

New Jersey Devils’ Curtis Lazar (42), left, scores the winning goal past New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (30), center, during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Newark, N.J., Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. The Devils defeated the Islanders 5-4. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Islanders coach Lane Lambert kept his comments brief after the disheartening loss.

“They scored, they gained some momentum and the push started coming,” he said. “I don’t think we responded well enough. … This one stings. This one stings bad.”

Islanders captain Anders Lee fought Devils veteran Brendan Smith with just more than two minutes left in the third period and the score tied at 4. Ruff said the skirmish lifted his team’s spirits.

“That fired the boys up,” Ruff said. “You see the guys get up on the bench. Brendan gives us a lot.”

Mike Reilly made his Islanders debut after the defenseman was claimed off waivers from Florida.

UP NEXT

Islanders: Visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

Devils: Visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

 

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