HOW IT HAPPENED
The New Jersey Devils, behind 30 saves from Akira Schmid shutout the New York Islanders 3-0 at UBS Arena on Friday Night in the final pre-season game for both teams. Max Willman, Kevin Bahl, and 19-year-old Simon Nemec had the goals for New Jersey who finish the pre-season undefeated (7-0-0). Kyle Palmieri played his first pre-season game for the Isles. Bo Horvat returned for the third period after being hit by a Noah Dobson shot in the second. Ilya Sorokin stopped 27 of 30 shots in the loss for an Isles team that finished the pre-season 2-4-0.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Kyle Palmieri saw his first action of the pre-season and played a physical 14:12 TOI. Head coach Lane Lambert said it was important for him to get a taste of live action before slotting into the opening night lineup. The 32-year-old had been skating on his own at the start of camp with an undisclosed injury before recently joining the team at practice.
“I felt okay, and it was good to get back out there, Palmieri said. “It’s one of those things where these guys have been working for a couple of weeks now, and I only joined the group this week, but we have a week ahead of us to get ready and get ourselves excited for next Saturday.”
WHAT WENT WRONG
It was a disconnected offensive performance with the power-play finishing 0-4 and allowing a short-handed goal, which was an unfortunate trend last season. “I didn't like tonight,” Lambert said after the game of his special teams unit. “The chances we gave up that can’t happen in the regular season. We’ll have to clean that up because that was something that bit us last year.”
On the play, Julian Gauthier appeared to be tripped, but rather than have a 5-on-3, 2022 2nd overall pick, Simon Nemec gathered the puck, got a step on Oliver Wahlstrom, and raced in on Sorokin for the goal that made it 3-0 Devils.
STATS OF THE GAME
New Jersey finished the pre-season with a 7-0-0 record. Since 2005, only four teams have gone undefeated in preseason play: San Jose ('05), Ottawa ('07), Calgary ('10) and Colorado ('16). The Islanders finished the pre-season 2-4-0.
“The last exhibition game is always a tough one to play,” said Lambert about his Islanders team that played close to a full lineup. “Guys are looking forward to next weekend for the regular season. I thought that in order to generate more, we had to be harder, and we weren't hard enough tonight. I thought their goaltender played well when he had to, but we didn't have enough traffic in front of net.”
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
It wasn't a strong game for the Islanders, but they did have strong representation (literally) at UBS Arena with CrossFit champion Dani Elle Speegle in attendance.
The next one count. After a week of practice the Islanders will open up the 2023-24 season against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, Oct. 14 at UBS Arena.