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Islanders clinch a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 4-1 win over Devils

By TOM CANAVAN AP Sports Writer

NEWARK, N.J. — Kyle Palmieri and Brock Nelson each had a goal and an assist and the Patrick Roy-led New York Islanders clinched one of the two remaining playoff berths in the Eastern Conference with a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Kyle MacLean also scored as the Islanders secured third place in the Metropolitan Division and earned their fifth postseason berth in the six seasons. Semyon Varamov made 23 saves for his fifth straight win and helped New York extend its point streak to eight games (7-0-1).

The run also was evidence general manager Lou Lamoriello made the right move when he fired Lane Lambert on Jan. 20 with New York’s season slipping away after losing four straight and posting a 2-6-2 stretch during which they played poorly.

Roy came aboard and found ways to press the right buttons, leading the team to a 19-12-5 record, with their best hockey coming late with everything on the line. Lambert, who led the Islanders to the playoffs in his first season in 2022-23, was 19-15-11 when he was sacked.

Timo Meier scored for the Devils, who missed the playoffs a year after posting a franchise-record 112 points. Jake Allen had 14 saves in New Jersey’s final game of the season.

New Jersey also fired its head coach this season, letting veteran Lindy Ruff (30-27-4) go on March after a 1-2 West Coast trip. Associate head coach Travis Green was named the interim coach but the team didn’t respond and it went 8-12-1 the rest of the season.

The Islanders, who close the season Wednesday at home against the Penguins, never trailed as Pageau scored on a 2-on-1 with Pierre Engvall with 7:38 left in the first with their first shot of the game. Palmieri doubled the lead with 3:08 remaining with his 29th goal, a tip on a power play.

Meier cut the deficit to a goal early in the second period for his 29th. However, Nelson restored the two-goal lead with 8:12 remaining in the period with his 33rd and MacLean, put the game away, scoring in close in the third period.

With the Devils out of playoff contention heading into their final game, Islanders fans were able to scoop up tickets and they celebrated more as more as New York’s lead increased.


Islanders: Host Penguins on Tuesday night in regular-season finale for both teams.

Devils: season over.


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