DAB PREGAME: Banged up Devils Visit Nassau Coliseum

Tonight’s game will be at the Islanders second home rather than the Barclay’s Center. –Getty Images 

Match Overview

Tonight’s game will feature your New Jersey Devils, who currently own an 18-21-7 record, which puts them seventh in the Metropolitan Division, and the New York Islanders, who own a 26-15-4 record, which puts them third in the Metropolitan Division.

The Devils are two days removed from a 4-1 thrashing courtesy of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Unfortunately, the Devils are set to face another top Metropolitan Division team, and they’ll have to do so without a plethora of starters. Taylor Hall, of course, will remain out, along with Ben Lovejoy and Miles Wood, who will also each miss the game due to injuries. Mackenzie Blackwood will get the chance to redeem himself after a shaky performance against the Chicago Blackhawks two games ago.

The Islanders are 12-3-0 in their last fifteen games. Led by their stellar goaltending (2.56 goals allowed per game), and second-year all-star Mathew Barzal (leads team in points), the Isles have surprised many. From last year, the Islanders have completely changed their style. After being dead last in defense and tops in the league offensively, they now rank 1stin goals against and 20thin goals per game this season. Barry Trotz and crew have yet to announce a goaltender tonight and expect for Tom Kuhnhackel to replace someone on their third line, as he is projected to return from injury.

Tonight’s game will be at Nassau Coliseum and is scheduled to start at 7:00 PM.

Projected Devils Lines

Johansson/Hischier/Bratt
Coleman/Zajac/Palmieri
Seney/Zacha/Stafford
Boyle/Rooney/Pietila

Greene/Severson
Butcher/Vatanen
Mueller/Santini

Blackwood

Projected Islanders Lines

Beauvillier/Barzal/Bailey
Lee/Nelson/Eberle
Dal Colle/Filppula/Komarov
Martin/Cizikas/Clutterbuck

Leddy/Boychuk
Pelech/Pulock
Toews/Mayfield

Lehner/Griess

Mackenzie Blackwood will be back in between the pipes tonight in Long Island. –Getty Images

What/Who to Watch

  • The Devils have few advantages entering this matchup. However, one glaring one is special teams. The Devils own the third best penalty kill in the league, while the Islanders power play is ranked 25th. The Devils have the 17thranked power play, while the Islanders have the 20th ranked penalty kill. Whoever is in net for the Islanders tonight will be tough to beat, but a power play can make beating them a little easier.

 

  • It didn’t take long, but Mathew Barzal is already one of the elite forwards in the game. He leads the Islanders in points, assists, Corsi For%, Scoring Chances For%, and many other major statistics. Unfortunately for the Devils, he’s also been red hot in his past five games (1G,4A) so they will have to be sharp whenever he is on the ice.

 

  • Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood will make his ninth start after getting the last game off. It’ll be interesting to see how the rookie responds after struggling in his last appearance. As mentioned above, the Islanders have an average offense and aren’t the best on the power play. However, with a third defensive pairing of Mirco Mueller and Steven Santini, it’ll be interesting to see how Blackwood responds after what may be the worst start of his young career.

 

  • The Devils third pairing of Santini and Mueller is something to keep an eye on. Each of the two has been arguably the Devils worst defenseman. This is evident by Mueller’s numerous turnovers and fail clears he exhibits whenever he is in the lineup, and Santini’s team-low 44.76 CF%. Having your two worse defensemen on the NHL-roster in the lineup is bad, but on the same line, it’s even worse.

Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG+ at 7:00 PM.

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