Jacques Lemaire now knows how John MacLean felt coaching the underachieving New Jersey Devils.
Lemaire's third stint behind the Devils' bench got off to a very rough start last night as Josh Bailey had two goals and an assist to lead the visiting New York Islanders to a 5-1 victory over the Devils.
"It looked like they had lost their ability to play the game, which is very strange," Lemaire said after watching the Devils lose their fourth straight game and for the ninth time in the last 10. "I have never seen this in the past. Never."
The 65-year-old Lemaire was handed the Devils' coaching job for the third time in his career hours earlier after MacLean was fired 33 games into his rookie season with New Jersey tied for the fewest points in the NHL and facing the prospect of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1997.
It didn't take Lemaire long to find out what was wrong with the team that has won three Stanley Cups since 1995.
"There is one thing that we can take care of and that is we are going to work," Lemaire said. "I felt and I could see that it was hard because they had something else, that [look of] defeat that they have right now. I am not a psychologist but I can see things, I feel things. I could feel it."
The Islanders, who were tied for the worst record with New Jersey, scored three times in the opening 11 minutes with Bailey getting the first two and John Tavares adding the other.
Dwayne Roloson had 34 saves, and Frans Nielsen and Blake Comeau scored as the Islanders won their second in 2 nights and extended their points streak to four games (3-0-1).
Lemaire, who retired after the Devils were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by the Flyers, now has nowhere to take them but up.
He laughed about making the playoffs.
"Let's start by winning a game," he said. "Winning a game is possible."
In other games:
* At Washington, Sidney Crosby extended his points streak to 23 games with a goal and an assist, and Pascal Dupuis scored the decisive goal in the seventh round of a shootout to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 victory.
Crosby, the NHL's leading scorer with 60 points on 29 goals and 31 assists in 36 games, has the NHL's longest points streak since 1992-93, when Quebec's Mats Sundin had a 30-game run.
* At Boston, Shawn Thornton scored twice and reached his career high with seven goals and the Bruins beat the Atlanta Thrashers, 4-1.
Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists for Boston.
* At Buffalo, Jason Garrison snapped a third-period tie, and Chris Higgins scored twice to help the Florida Panthers beat the Sabres, 4-3.
Tomas Vokoun finished with 45 saves for Florida.
* At Raleigh, N.C., Alexandre Picard and Andrei Kostitsyn scored during a pivotal power play to help the Montreal Canadiens beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2.
Scott Gomez had a goal and an assist for Montreal.
* At Columbus, Henrik Sedin had a goal and three assists to match his career high with four points and the Vancouver Canucks routed the Blue Jackets, 7-3.
Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows each had a goal and two assists, Raffi Torres scored twice, and Christian Erhoff and Ryan Kesler also scored for Vancouver.
* At New York, Ryan Malone scored in the 11th round of a shootout, and the Tampa Bay Lightning bounced back from giving up a goal late in the third period to beat the Rangers, 4-3.
Steven Stamkos scored his 27th goal for the Lightning.
* At St. Louis, Patrik Berglund broke a 10-game scoring drought with two goals to lead the Blues to a 4-3 win over Detroit.
* At Nashville, Alex Kovalev and Nick Foligno scored and Brian Elliott made 25 saves in Ottawa's 2-1 victory over the Predators.
* At Dallas, Alex Tanguay converted in the second round of the shootout after scoring late in regulation, Miikka Kiprusoff stopped all three Dallas shooters, and the Calgary Flames snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Stars.
Tanguay beat Kari Lehtonen for the only goal in the tiebreaker. Kiprusoff stopped Loui Eriksson and Brad Richards in the first two rounds, and Dallas' Mike Ribeiro failed to get off a clean shot in the third round.
* At Denver, Matt Cullen scored two goals and Niklas Backstrom made 36 saves as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 3-1.