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Devils Break Away From Isles

New Jersey's first goal in the Devils' 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders Sunday was typical of why some teams win and some teams lose.

Just 2:56 into the game, New Jersey's Brendan Morrison zoomed into the Islanders' zone on a breakaway and was zeroing in on goalie Tommy Salo when he was pulled down by Islanders forward Ted Donato.

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  • Morrison lost control of the puck, but Salo missed it, allowing it to slither between his pads and into the net.

    Patrick Elias gave the Devils a 2-0 lead at 14:32 when he faked Salo down and tucked the puck into the left side and the Devils were on their way to a win that pulled them within two points of the Eastern Conference lead.

    "We didn't show up for the first period," Islanders forward Zigmund Palffy said. "It's hard to come back against a team like New Jersey because they're so good defensively."

    Dennis Pederson and Petr Sykora also scored one goal and assisted on another for the Devils, who trail Ottawa by two points but have played two more games than the Senators.

    The Islanders cut New Jersey's lead to 2-1 in the second period on Sergei Nemchinov's eighth goal, as he banged in a cross-ice pass from Mike Watt at 9:39. But Pederson and Sykora scored twice in a 1:42 span to take a 4-1 lead.

    The Islanders couldn't catch up to the Devils.>
    The Islanders couldn't catch up to the Devils. (AP)

    Sykora blasted a right circle shot past Salo at 12:59 during a four-on-four, and Pederson batted down a point shot and then buried the rebound on a power play at 14:41.

    Robert Reichel scored his team-leading 19th goal on a power play at 17:48.

    The Islanders played well in the third period, but Devils goalie Martin Brodeur stopped all eight shots he faced, and 19 overall.

    "We played two really good periods," New Jersey coach Robbie Ftorek said. "In the third period, we played a different game."

    "That was their 20th game under me," Islanders coach Bill Stewart said. "The coaching staff is going to sit down and evaluate everyone's performance over that span, both the pros and the cons."

    Asked how he would measure the performance of his players, Stewart said, "By transactions."

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