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Hughes, Meier, Kahkonen power Devils to 4-0 victory over the Islanders

NEW YORK (AP) — Jack Hughes and Timo Meier each had a goal and an assist, Kaapo Kahkonen made 37 saves in his first shutout of the season and the New Jersey Devils beat the New York Islanders 4-0 Sunday night.

Alexander Holtz and Chris Tierney also scored for New Jersey. Kahkonen, acquired at the trade deadline, earned his first win as a member of the Devils.

New Jersey captain Nico Hischier left the game late in the second period after colliding with New York's Anders Lee. Lee received a major penalty and a game misconduct. Hischier did return at the start of the third period.

Ilya Sorokin finished with 26 saves for the Islanders, who lost for the seventh time in eight games. New York is four points behind Washington in the race for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 11 games left in the regular season.

New Jersey scored three times in a 5:34 span early in the second period.

Meier buried a tap-in opportunity 38 seconds into the period as New Jersey capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play. Hughes found Meier alone outside the crease after he slipped behind the Islanders defense.

“Its always important to capitalize on the power play,” Meier said. “Especially when you get the chance to go out in the second period, start on fresh ice. ... Jack made an unbelievable play and that kind of jumpstarted our period and we built off of it.”

Meier later received 17 penalty minutes when he fought Lee following what appeared to be a knee-on-knee collision with Hischier.

“It was a dirty hit,” Meier said. “I had to step in and let him know, that's it.”

The Devils took advantage of a number of mistakes by the Islanders to stretch their lead to three goals. It was the sixth time in the last seven games that New York allowed three goals in a period.

“We made a few mistakes and they took a 3-0 lead,” Islanders coach Patrick Roy said. "We dig ourselves a big hole and we couldn't get out of it today. ... We didn't generate enough to come back in that game."

Hughes converted an odd-man rush opportunity with a wrist shot past the blocker of Sorokin. Three Islanders collided in the offensive zone, leading to the scoring chance.

Holtz connected on a one-time opportunity when defenseman Simon Nemec delivered a cross-ice pass to set up his teammate. Nemec stole the puck from Lee along the wall and Islanders forward Hudson Fasching lost track of Holtz at 6:12 of the second.

“I saw an opportunity there to keep the play alive," Nemec said. “I didn't look at the goalie, I just saw (Holtz) open."

Roy called a timeout following the Holtz goal in an effort to rally his team, but New York fell to 0-6-3 in the second half of back-to-back games this season.

“Expect a little bit of a push and we have to be real solid at that point in the game,” Devils coach Travis Green told his team during the Islanders timeout. “We have to be quick to getting to pucks, strong on pucks. Because we know when a coach calls timeout the other team is going to come and try to get some momentum back.”

Simon Holmstrom returned to the Islanders' lineup and veteran winger Matt Martin was scratched for the second time in three games.

Tierney added an empty-net goal at 15:53 of the third period.

UP NEXT:

Devils: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

Islanders: At the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl