Ilya Kovalchuk blamed himself for the Devils' 3-2 loss to the Islanders today because of his giveaway that led to a short-handed goal in the third period.

But no one threw the Russian winger under the bus for that mistake or for his third-period unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that put the Devils in a hole with less than six minutes remaining.

First, there was the turnover, resulting in Michael Grabner's winning goal.

"I don't think it was carelessness," coach Pete DeBoer said. "When you ask a puck-carrying defenseman like Adam Larsson to carry the puck and when you ask the Kovalchuks of the world to bring the puck up the ice consistently every night, you're going to have mistakes. No, it wasn't carelessness. It was a mistake.

"There are a handful of players in the league, a couple of every team, that have the puck on their stick for a lot of the game. He's one of those guys. With players like that you've got to take the good with the bad. He's also the same guy that created two of our goals."

Goalie Martin Brodeur apparently felt he should've stopped Grabner's shot, even though he stopped breakaways all day.

"In this instance I have to blame myself a little bit on the goal," Brodeur said. "I made a pass to (Kovy) and I thought I broke my stick, so I was looking at my stick. I didn't really see Kovy go in front of me. I wasn't really ready to challenge Grabner.