Nearly three weeks after the Devils’ last victory, Damon Severson didn’t want to say his team was getting desperate. He did acknowledge they needed a win.
Severson scored twice 1:26 apart in New Jersey’s three-goal second period, and the Devils ended a six-game skid with a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
“We really wanted to get back on track and find a way to start winning more games,” Severson said. “Two points is what counts at the end of the day. This one felt good and hopefully we can get on the right track now.”
Kyle Palmieri and Taylor Hall also scored for New Jersey, which was 0-3-3 since beating Detroit at home on Dec. 27. Keith Kinkaid, getting the start after Cory Schneider was a late scratch due to illness, stopped 25 shots.
“It’s a relief to get two full points,” Kinkaid said after making just his second start since Dec. 9. “We played a hell of a game, defensively and offensively. We never let off the gas.”
Anders Lee scored and Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves as the Islanders snapped a three-game winning streak that started with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Devils here on Jan. 7.
“They’ve been off for a couple of days, we’ve had a real hard couple of games,” New York coach Doug Weight said. “It’s tough, but teams go through it. We were mentally tired early and didn’t do a great job managing the game.”
New Jersey trailed less than two minutes in but got four straight goals starting with Palmieri’s score late in the first period.
Halak, who faced more than 35 shots on goal for his 10th straight start, made nice stops on in-close tries by Brian Boyle and Brian Gibbons with about 7 1/2 minutes left in the middle period to keep the score tied.
However, Severson gave the Devils the lead about 30 seconds later as he got the rebound of a shot by Gibbons and beat Halak from the right circle. It was the defenseman’s fifth goal of the season and first in 12 games.
Severson doubled the Devils’ lead on a one-timer from the deep center point near the blue line off a pass from Ben Lovejoy with 5:36 remaining.
“I wasn’t really expecting the puck overall because I was telling Lovejoy ‘no don’t pass it’ because I saw their forward, and then right before he passed it I was, OK, yeah, he’s got that space,” Severson said.
Hall made it 4-1 with his team-leading 16th with 1:40 left.
Kinkaid, a Long Island native who grew up an Islanders fan in Farmingville, New York, beat them for the first time in his career. He came in 0-3-2 with a 3.19 goals-against average in six games against the Islanders.
“It’s fun getting a win against your hometown team,” Kinkaid said. “I’m sure I’m going to get a few texts from a few buddies.”
Lee got the Islanders on the scoreboard 1:39 into the game. It marked the second straight game New York scored on its first shot and within the opening two minutes. Anthony Beauvillier did it in the Islanders’ 5-4 overtime win at Montreal on Monday night.
The Devils took over from there.
New Jersey tied it on the power play with 4:40 left in the opening period as Palmieri beat Halak with a one-timer from the left circle for his eighth.
The Islanders’ Brock Nelson and New Jersey captain Andy Greene tussled briefly in front of the Devils’ net as time expired in the first. It was the first NHL fight for each.
NOTES: New York has been outshot 493-374 in the last 12 games, with Halak starting 10. That includes the 56 faced by Thomas Greiss against the Canadiens. … New York lost for just the second time in 18 games when scoring the first goal. … The teams play two more times — both in New Jersey — on Feb. 24 and March 31. … Hall extended his points streak to five games with four goals and five assists in the stretch. … New Jersey improved to 17-0-2 when leading after two periods.