NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Cory Schneider were both in the right spot at the right time for the suddenly peaking New York Islanders on Sunday.
Pageau was in perfect position to score three goals and add an assist, and Schneider made the most of his first NHL game in more than two years in leading the Islanders to a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, extending their winning streak to a season-high four straight games.
Schneider made 27 saves in playing in the league for the first time since March 6, 2020, when he was with the Devils.
“It’s easy to take the league for granted when you’re young and you’re playing a lot and things can change quickly, as we all know,” said Schneider, who has been in the American Hockey League this season. “Life in general, not just in hockey. So always be grateful for the chances you get and I thought my teammates worked really hard tonight to make my first game back.”
The 36-year-old goaltender was recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL last month with Ilya Sorokin sidelined and Semyon Varlamov needing a break.
Pageau really helped Schneider, scoring the game’s first three goals.
“I got a few bounces, I guess, tonight that was in the right spot and that puck landed on my stick,” said Pageau, who tallied on a breakaway and two slam dunks against Nico Daws. “I think our line has been doing a really good job in the past few games, getting some goals.
Linemate Kyle Palmieri added New York’s other goal and two assists, and defenseman Adam Pelech matched his career best with three assists. The Islanders are 11-3-1 in their last 14.
Islanders coach Barry Trotz said he didn’t tell Schneider, who has battled hip and groin injuries in recent years, about starting until Saturday.
“Everybody’s really happy for him and it doesn’t surprise me if you know Schneider he’s got a lot of the good stuff,” Trotz said. “He’s a hockey guy. He’s a great human, he’s got a real good work ethic and there’s zero ego, which is very refreshing.”
Jesper Boqvist, Tomas Tatar and Nico Hischier scored for the Devils, who have lost three straight. Daws made 25 saves.
Devils coach Lindy Ruff said his team suffered a hangover from blowing a four-goal third period lead and losing to Florida in overtime Saturday.
“I thought we were really flat in the first period,” he said. “I think, maybe we were having a pity party from the night before where we felt pretty bad about the way that game ended and we didn’t have too much going on.”
The Devils played most of the final two periods without Jack Hughes and defenseman P.K. Subban. Hughes sustained a leg injury early in the second period when checked along the board by Oliver Wahlstrom. Subban got a game misconduct seconds later after picking up instigator and aggressor majors for fighting with Walhstrom.
Ruff had no update on Hughes or fellow forward Nathan Bastian, who also left with a lower body injury.
Pageau, who hadn’t had a goal in 13 games, scored on a breakaway at 11:56 of the first period and added a power-play goal just over two minutes later on a setup by Anders Lee. The third-line center got his 13th of the season and capped his fourth career hat trick — two regular season, two playoffs — at 14:58 of the second period on a great cross-ice setup by Pelech. He even caught one of the many hats thrown for the hat trick skating after the goal.
Boqvist got the Devils going, tipping Damon Severson’s point shot past Schneider, who was 10-10-3-1 in the AHL this season. Tatar closed the gap to a goal at 5:32.
After Palmieri restored the two-goal lead with with 5:07 left in regulation, Hischier with 1:06 left and the Devils’ net empty. New Jersey sent a dangerous cross-ice pass through the crease, but no one was there to poke it into the net and tie it.
Islanders: Travel to Dallas on Tuesday for the third of a five-game road trip.
Devils: Host the Rangers on Tuesday night.
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