The New Jersey Devils enter this afternoon’s bout with the Islander’s as the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. The Devils are coming off one of their best games of the season, a come from behind OT defeat of the Detroit Red Wings. They were able to prevail despite missing two key players in Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique. The Islanders are coming into today as the one of the hottest teams in hockey. 7-1-2 in their last 10, they have caught the Rangers in the standings. They are also coming off an overtime victory. Last night they were able to defeat the Blue Jackets.
Keys to the Game:
For the Devils the key is to carry the momentum from Friday into today’s game. They aren’t looking to fall down by two goals again. They need that 3rd period energy right from the opening draw. Against a team as hot as the Islanders it is always good to try to catch them sleeping and attack early and often. With the absence of Henrique, Zajac, and possibly Stempniak looming, the Devils will also look for their secondary scoring options to step up. When dealing with a team with elite talents like John Tavares and Kyle Okposo it is always imperative to limit their scoring chances. The Devils will certainly need a strong defensive if they have any hope of cooling off the Islanders.
Players to Watch:
Joseph Blandisi. After making his first start with the big club on Friday it is time to see what the Devils have in Blandisi. Coming off a superb season in the OHL where he finished 4rth in scoring, it will be interesting to see how his skills translate to the NHL. He is still a young kid at 21 years of age, but if he can show he can potentially be a legit NHL scorer than the Devils really got a steal in signing him. Also look for him to get his first career point today.
Kyle Okposo. Coming off of a 2-goal, 3-point effort vs the Blue Jackets, Okposo is looking to continue his success against the Devils. Coming into today Okposo has 22 points in 29 games this year. He is an elite right wing talent and isn’t a player to be taken lightly. Watch for him to make an impact in today’s game.
Coming off an electric game Friday I think the Devils will come out jumping in Brooklyn. Despite injuries, the Devils will continue to scrap and find a way to win. It helps the Islanders are on the second day of a back to back and their first game went to OT. The 5 PM start time gives the Isles less time to rest. All of that is advantageous to the Devils.
Devils win 2-1
SB’s Record: 2-1-0
Where and when to Watch: