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Devils Leave Islanders Stranded

Martin Brodeur showed why he was selected for the Canadian Olympic Team.

Brodeur allowed a goal for the first time in his last three games, but turned aside 32 other shots as the New Jersey Devils beat the New York Islanders 3-2 Saturday.

"It was Brodeur tonight," Islanders coach Rick Bowness said of the difference in the game. "By far, we've had the most scoring chances against this team all season. He was sensational."

Brodeur, who had two shutouts earlier this week against Ottawa, had offensive help from Patrick Elias, Doug Bodger and Brian Rolston as the Devils extended their unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1).

They also remained unbeaten against the Islanders this season, winning all four games so far. The victory marked the first time in franchise history that the Devils had won twice in a season on Long Island.

Kip Miller and Zigmund Palffy scored against Brodeur. The loss was the first for New York in its last six games (4-1-1), and also its first loss at Nassau Coliseum in six (3-1-2).

Tommy Salo started his ninth straight game in goal for New York and stopped 32 shots.

Two of the Islanders' four newest players acquired Friday made it in time for the game, as center Mark Janssens and left wing Joe Sacco skated with their new teammates. Defenseman J.J. Daigneault and center-right wing Trevor Linden will make their Islander debuts on Feb. 25 when New York hosts Dallas in the first game after the Olympic break.

Kip Miller's first goal this season gave New York a 1-0 lead at 5:51 with a slap shot from the left circle.

"I thought he was going short-side," Brodeur said. "I didn't know that he had that much room on the far side, and he had to put it off both posts to go in."

Brodeur made several good saves in the period, his biggest coming at 13:15 as he squeezed his pads together while on his knees to stop Bryan Smolinski's backhand try from the top of the left crease.

The Devils tied the game 86 seconds into the second period when Elias scored on a rebound from the slot.

Brodeur and Salo continued to trade saves until Bodger beat Salo from the left circle at 17:17, giving the Devils a 2-1 lead.

Brodeur made a dazzling stop on Sacco 30 seconds into the final period, splitting his legs apart while on his stomach and getting the right pad on Sacco's tap-in try from the left crease.

Rolston gave the Devils a 3-1 lead at 3:40 when he beat Rolston with a wrist shot. It represented the first time in six games that the Devils had scored at least three goals.

Brodeur robbed Sacco with a quick glove save at 10:30, but then was beaten on a one-timer by Palffy from the right circle while New York was on a power play at 15:29.

"I probably could have tied the game by myself," Sacco said. ``On the first one, he made an unbelievable save. I didn't get such good wood on the second one, but he was there to stop it anyway.

"That's two quality chances an I didn't bury them."

Devils coach Jacques Lemaire seemed more concerned about Brodeur heading to the Olympics than Saturay's game.

"I don't want him to be involved (in playing) because when he comes back he'll be tired and need rest and we need him here," Lemaire said. "The games there will be very intense and demand a lot of energy from every player, especially goaltenders.

"They need at least a week off."

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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