Islanders hold Devils at bay for eighth straight win

Kieffer Bellows scored his first two goals of the season early in the third period and the Islanders rallied to beat the Devils 3-2 on Saturday at Prudential Center for their eighth straight victory.

Oliver Walhstrom also scored and Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves to help the East-leading Islanders extend their scoring streak to 11 games at 10-0-1.

The winning streak is the longest for the Islanders since they won 10 in a row last season. The team’s record is 15 in early 1982.

Pavel Zacha and Janne Kuokkanen scored for the Devils, who have lost 10 in a row at home. Mackenzie Blackwood made 26 saves for the Devils.

Islanders coach Barry Trotz, who put Bellows on his top line with Anders Lee out indefinitely with a leg injury, said the 19th pick in the 2016 draft has been developed.

“Kieffer was handed the ball at the beginning of the year and he did well, but then we started rolling a little bit and he had to sit down,” Trotz said. “He’s trying to make a statement, he sees an opportunity and he took it for a game. Let’s see if he can do it again. But I was impressed.

Kieffer Bellows (20) scores one of his two goals on Mackenzie Blackwood during the Islanders 3-2 win over the Devils.
Kieffer Bellows (20) scores one of his two goals over Mackenzie Blackwood during the Islanders 3-2 win over the Devils.

Bellows tied at 2, receiving a pass from Mathew Barzal and outscoring Blackwood from between the circles at 1:59 of the third period.

Playing in his first NHL game since Feb. 18 and just his ninth of the season, Bellows put the Islanders ahead at 5:10. He received a pass from Jordan Eberle in the center of the ice, then made a power move from the right circle and beat Blackwood up close.

“Obviously scoring one gives you confidence to go out there and make a few more plays and you know it gives you confidence to score more,” said Bellows, son of former NHL player Brian Bellows. “But without Ebs and Barzie on both plays, he wouldn’t have scored either.”

Zacha gave the Devils the lead early in the first period and Walhstrom tied it later in the period with a scorching shot on a run.

Kuokkanen gave the Devils the lead at 1:04 of the second period, diving for a rebound from an open net. He has goals in three in a row.

Veteran Travis Zajac said the team must remain focused despite the recent skid.

“There is no use looking at the standings or being worried about what other teams are doing or where we are,” said Zajac, who had an assist in goal from Kuokkanen. “It is a waste of energy. Our energy will be spent trying to win a game and go from there and break it down into even smaller things, winning your turn. win a period and play the right way. “

The teams will be back in Newark on Sunday afternoon for their third straight game between them.


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