UNIONDALE, N.Y. — In all honesty, Johan Hedberg deserved a shutout in his first start five days ago against the Boston Bruins.
But, the Bruins tied the game late in the third period that night and eventually topped the New Jersey Devils, 2-1, in a shootout.
Hedberg didn’t let another opportunity for a shutout slip on Sunday, helping the Devils (4-1-3) end a four-game losing streak with a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders (4-3-1) at Nassau Coliseum.
Hedberg stopped all 22 shots he faced — including some good chances in the third period — and the Devils earned their first win since a 4-3 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 22.
And, much different from the 5-4 overtime win for the Islanders over the Devils on Thursday, New Jersey’s penalty kill came to play tonight, holding New York scoreless on all six of the extra-man advantages.
Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov was equally as impressive as Hedberg, stopping 24 of the 26 shots he faced from the Devils. In the end, the bounces just went the Devils way — something that hasn’t been happening over the past week.
With the Pittsburgh Penguins beating the Washington Capitals today, the Devils moved swiftly into second place in the Atlantic Division, now sitting one point behind the Penguins, who beat New Jersey 5-1 yesterday.
Today’s game was the first of 10 back-to-back sets for New Jersey. Ideally, Hedberg and Brodeur would each split a game in those instances, and today proved why their system of two goalies of at least 39 years of age can work out.
The Devils will return home to take on the New York Rangers on Tuesday. It will mark the first meeting between those two teams since the Devils ousted the Rangers in game six of the Eastern Conference Final last May.