Nielsen lifts Islanders past Devils in shootout
Nielsen scored in the first round, and Brock Nelson added a goal in the second against New Jersey's Cory Schneider to hand the Devils their 14th straight shootout loss - 0-10 this season. Anders Nilsson turned aside Adam Henrique, who scored in regulation, and Patrik Elias to win it.
The Devils earned one point, but are still behind several teams in the Eastern Conference playoff race with eight games left. They are 2-4-2 in their last eight.
Nielsen gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead early in the second before Henrique tied it.
New Jersey closed the gap in shots during the second and erased its deficit on Henrique's career-high 25th goal. Henrique took a pass from Damien Brunner and took a shot that Nilsson stopped, but the rebound came back to Henrique, who stuffed it in at the right post with 9:40 left.
Henrique has a goal in back-to-back games following a seven-game drought.
The Islanders had gone ahead 2:12 in with the help of the Devils. Nielsen came in hard to the net, and New Jersey defenseman Peter Harrold tried to sweep away the puck but knocked it off of teammate Elias and past Schneider for Nielsen's 23rd goal.
The Devils nearly got even sooner than they did when Mark Fayne fired a hard shot from the blue line that Nilsson smothered in his midsection at 4:23. It was New Jersey's third shot of the second, one more than they had in the first.
Nielsen almost struck again when he came in on a short-handed breakaway with 6:47 left in the second, but was turned aside by Schneider. He drew a slashing penalty, but New York couldn't capitalize. The Islanders were outshot 11-7 in the frame, yet killed three Devils power plays.
New Jersey had a 7-3 shots advantage in the uneventful and scoreless third period and 4-1 in overtime. The Islanders had only 11 shots after the first period.
The Islanders came out aggressively early and finished checks in all three zones in the first, including big hits by Colin McDonald, Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck that riled up the crowd.
Mike Halmo also threw his body around, and then ripped a shot that Schneider snagged with his glove to keep the game scoreless with 4:36 left. That gave New York a 7-2 edge in shots.
When Ryan Carter got a hit in, he was called for boarding for drilling Islanders forward Johan Sundstrom from behind in front of the penalty box with 4:15 to go.
The Islanders outshot the Devils 9-2 in the first and outhit them 19-4 - with Anders Lee having four.
NOTES: The Devils matched their season low with the two-shot first period. ... Steve Bernier was in the New Jersey lineup after being a healthy scratch the previous two games. D Bryce Salvador (groin) was sidelined for a second consecutive game, D Anton Volchenkov (lower body) missed his third in a row, and C Jacob Josefson (healthy) also sat out. ... With Kyle Okposo missing his second straight game because of a lower-body injury, the Islanders had 10 rookies in the lineup.