April 1, 2018 / 2:23 AM / 5 months ago

Devils tighten grip on playoff berth with win over Islanders

EditorsNote: Minor fixes throughout

Taylor Hall scored two goals Saturday night as the New Jersey Devils moved closer to clinching an Eastern Conference wild-card spot with a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

The Devils moved five points ahead of the Florida Panthers in the race for the second wild card in the East. New Jersey has four games left while Florida has five games remaining.

Stefan Noesen and Blake Coleman also scored for the Devils, who won for the fourth time in five games (4-0-1). Goalie Keith Kinkaid recorded 27 saves.

Tanner Fritz, Anthony Beauvillier and Chris Wagner scored for the Islanders, who have lost 16 of 19 (3-12-4). Goalie Thomas Greiss, who missed the previous 18 games with a lower-body injury, made 31 saves.

The Islanders got on the board just 1:15 into the game, when Fritz put home the rebound of a shot by Brandon Davidson.

The Devils tied the game fewer than seven minutes later, when Coleman’s wraparound attempt was initially turned back by Greiss before Noesen jammed the puck home.

Hall scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the second for the Devils. He received credit for a fluke goal just 41 seconds after faceoff, when his shot ticked off the skate of Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech.

Hall had a lot more to do with his second goal at the 9:08 mark. He picked up the puck deep in the Devils’ zone and shook Islanders left winger Anders Lee around center ice before firing a shot from the right faceoff circle that went over Greiss’ left shoulder.

Beauvillier cut the gap to 3-2 by firing a shot under Kinkaid’s glove for a power-play goal with 6:41 left. But Coleman scored a shorthanded goal with 1:02 remaining.

Wagner scored with 3:39 remaining in the third for the Islanders, who nearly tied it twice in the final minute. But Kinkaid gloved a sizzling slap shot by Ryan Pulock, and Noesen blocked a shot by Nick Leddy with 8.4 seconds left.

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