UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Brian Rolston and Ilya Kovalchuk made sure the surging New Jersey Devils earned a full two points in their improbable push for a playoff spot.
Rolston and Kovalchuk each had a goal and an assist in regulation and added shootout goals, with Rolston netting the winner in the sixth round in the Devils' 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Sunday.
``I find the shootouts to be tougher because there's more pressure on you,' Rolston said.
The Devils are 20-2-2 in their last 24 games to improve to 30-31-4. They are eight points behind eighth-place Buffalo in the race for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Blake Comeau tied it for New York with 3:42 left in regulation, firing a loose puck from the low slot past Martin Brodeur for his 18th goal this season.
Kovalchuk broke a 1-1 tie with a goal at 2:52 of the final period when he moved in and beat Al Montoya over his glove with a high wrist shot.
``We got a lot of chances today,' Kovalchuk said. ``I just go out there and try to do my best.'
Brodeur stopped 20 shots.
Josh Bailey also scored for the Islanders, and Montoya made 27 saves.
``There are times where you're going to get frustrated,' Islanders center Frans Neilsen said. ``You have to hold your head high and not get frustrated.'
New Jersey opened the scoring at 4:09 of the second period, and just 9 seconds into their first power play. Kovalchuk fed the puck to Rolston at the point, and he let loose a slap shot that beat a screened Montoya.
Rolston praised Montoya.
``He's played very well for them,' Rolston said. ``We knew that coming in, and we were trying to figure out how to beat him.'
The Islanders tied it with less than 3 minutes left in the period on their second power play. Bailey, standing in the right circle, took a shot that Brodeur stopped, but the rebound left a trail of bodies scrambling. Bailey moved in and found an open net to put it home.
NOTES: D Milan Jurcina returned to the Islanders' lineup following a groin injury. ... Devils forward David Clarkson's wife gave birth to a girl (McKinnley) on Friday morning.
The Associated Press News Service
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