NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Kieffer Bellows scored his first two goals of the season early in the third period and the New York Islanders rallied to beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 on Saturday for their eighth straight victory.
Oliver Wahlstrom also scored and Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves to help the East-leading Islanders extend their points streak to 11 games at 10-0-1.
The winning streak is the longest for the Islanders since they won 10 in a row last season. The team record is 15 in early 1982.
Pavel Zacha and Janne Kuokkanen scored for the Devils, who have lost 10 straight at home. Mackenzie Blackwood made 26 saves for New Jersey.
Islanders coach Barry Trotz, who put Bellows on his top line with Anders Lee out indefinitely with a leg injury, said Bellows has developed playing at Bridgeport in the AHL.
“Kieffer was handed the ball at the start of the year and did OK but then we started rolling a little bit and he had to sit,” Trotz said. “He’s trying to make a statement, he sees an opportunity, and he seized it for one game. Let’s see if he can do it again. But I was impressed.
Bellows tied it at 2, taking a pass from Mathew Barzal and beating Blackwood from between the circles at 1:59 of the third period.
Playing in his first NHL game since Feb. 18 and only his ninth of the season, Bellows put New York ahead at 5:10. He took a pass from Jordan Eberle in center ice then made a power move from the right circle and beat Blackwood in close.
“Obviously, scoring one gives you confidence to go out there and make some more plays and you know it gives you confidence score more,” said Bellows, the son of former NHL player Brian Bellows said. “But without Ebs and Barzie on both those plays, I wouldn’t have scored either.”
Zacha gave the Devils the lead early in the first period and Walhstrom tied it later in the period with a blistering shot on a rush.
Kuokkanen gave New Jersey the lead at 1:04 of the second period, diving to poke a rebound into an open net. He has goals in three straight.
Veteran Travis Zajac said the team needs to remain focused despite the recent skid.
“It does no good looking at the standings or being worried about what other teams are doing or where we are,” said Zajac, who had an assist on the Kuokkanen goal. “It’s a waste of energy. Our energy is going to be spent on trying to win one game and go from there and break it down to even smaller things, win your shift. win a period, and play the right way.”
DOWN A REFEREE:
Referee Justin St. Pierre sustained an upper-body injury in a first-period collision and did not return for the final 40 minutes. Referee Pierre Lambert worked the final two periods with linesmen Vaughan Rody and Libor Suchanek.
Lee had his streak of playing in 295 consecutive games snapped. He is going to be out indefinitely after injuring his right leg in Thursday night’s win over New Jersey. He led New York with 12 goals. The streak was the third longest in Islanders’ history. Devils captain Nico Hischier missed his eighth straight game with a concussion and broken nose.
NOTES: Islanders F Josh Bailey left the ice for part of the second period after being cut in the face by a diving Kuokkanen on his goal. … Devils D Dmitry Kuliov played in his 700th NHL game. … New York’s Brock Nelson had his four-game goals streak broken.
The teams are back at the Prudential Center late Sunday afternoon for their third straight game against each other.
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