UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Cory Schneider has to make the most of his opportunities to guard the New Jersey Devils net to earn more playing time.
It doesn't come easily in a goalie split with Martin Brodeur, but he made a good case for himself in a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Schneider made 30 saves and held off the Islanders' late charge to win for the first time since a shutout of Buffalo on Nov. 30.
"I want to win, but you can't do it without the guys in front of you," Schneider said. "I thought we played really well tonight, and we eliminated a lot of their odd-man rush opportunities."
The 27-year-old goalie held the Islanders scoreless until midway through the third period, before Frans Nielsen tied it 1-1.
It didn't stay even for long. With 6:57 to play, Travis Zajac took a shot off his upper body from Marek Zidlicky. The puck deflected past goalie Evgeni Nabokov for the winning goal.
In addition to limiting the Islanders' odd-man rushes, the Devils capitalized on their own chances.
New Jersey took a 1-0 lead with 8:23 remaining in the first period when Adam Henrique beat Nabokov as the trailer on an odd-man rush.
"We needed this as a group," Schneider said of the win. "We've been stringing some points together, which is nice. But we couldn't settle for one. I think we needed the two."
New Jersey lost to Columbus at home in a shootout on Friday night.
The Islanders absorbed their latest tough home loss. New York hasn't won at Nassau Coliseum in regulation since Nov. 12 — going 1-5-4 during that span.