Devils slip past Isles 2-1 in opener
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — The New Jersey Devils were ready to start off this lockout-shortened season.
David Clarkson's goal at 8:17 of the third period sent the Devils to a 2-1 season-opening win over the New York Islanders on Saturday.
Travis Zajac also scored for New Jersey. Martin Brodeur stopped 18 shots to increase his NHL wins record to 657.
"I thought we had a good camp," said Devils coach Pete DeBoer, who praised his team for arriving to training camp in condition. "(That) probably allowed us to get two points tonight."
Travis Hamonic had New York's goal, a power-play score at 7:12 of the third. Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves for the Islanders.
"Nabby looked in control. He brings it every night," said Doug Weight, who replaced Islanders coach Jack Capuano for the game "due to medical reasons."
The Islanders did not have an updated status after the game, other to say that Capuano had been admitted to Long Island Jewish Hospital and was expected to return to the team this week.
Weight normally serves a dual role as a special adviser to general manager Garth Snow and one of the two assistant coaches.
The effects of the 119-day lockout and compacted training camp were evident in the season opener for both teams.
Emotion was decidedly lacking save for two brief instances, and passes and shots were not as crisp as they would be at the same point in an 82-game season.
"We came out a little bit flat," Hamonic said.
It was an assessment that Weight disagreed with.
"Flat sounds like a bad word and it is but I don't know if they were flat. They were a little jittery," Weight said. "You have a week for camp. You have a week to prepare for an opponent as well.
"The energy was there. They were excited and possibly trying to do too much. I wouldn't agree with flat."
On the play that led to Zajac's goal. New Jersey took advantage of a bad line change by New York with a 3-on-1 break, and Ilya Kovalchuk feathered a cross-ice pass to Zajac, who lifted the puck over Nabokov's glove 14:01 into the second period for the game's first goal.