Devils Take On Defensive-Minded Islanders In Newark

Mackenzie Blackwood
The Devils will look to improve to 2-0-0 against the Islander this season. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Match Overview

Tonight’s game will feature your New Jersey Devils, who currently own a 15-20-6 record, which puts them last in the Metropolitan Division, and the New York Islanders, who own a 26-12-3 record, which puts them second in the Metropolitan Division.

The Devils come into tonight’s game – with the exception of their last game – playing their best hockey of the season. Over their last ten games, they own a 6-3-1 record while outscoring their opponents 30-24. This stretch also includes an away 2-1 win over their opponents tonight. However, tonight will be a tougher test, as the Devils are without forwards Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt, each of whom is injured. Mackenzie Blackwood will make his 30th start of the season despite reportedly not feeling well yesterday. For the full projected lineup, see below.

The Islanders are coming off a shutout 1-0 victory last night home versus the Colorado Avalanche. Tonight will mark their seventh game in the last 10 days. Hopefully, the Devils will take advantage of the likely tired Islander legs. The Islanders have also struggled to score as of late, as they only have two goals in their last three games and have only scored more than three goals once in their last seven. The Devils will face Thomas Griess (11-7-0, .919 Sv%, 2.58 GAA) tonight, and you can find the rest of the Islanders’ projected lineup below.

Tonight’s game will be at the Prudential Center and is scheduled for 7:00 PM.

Projected Devils’ Lines

Forwards:

  • Simmonds/Hischier/Palmieri
  • Coleman/Zajac/Gusev
  • Boqvist/Zacha/Wood
  • Street/Rooney/Hayden

Defense:

  • Greene/Subban
  • Severson/Vatanen
  • Butcher/Mueller

Goalies:

  • Blackwood
  • Domingue

Projected Islanders’ Lines

Forwards:

  • Beauviller/Barzal/Bailey
  • Lee/Nelson/Eberle
  • Dal Colle/Brassard/Kuhnhackl
  • Martin/Cizikas/Komarov

Defense:

  • Leddy/Pulock
  • Toews/Mayfield
  • Dobson/Boychuk

Goalie

  • Griess
  • Varlamov
Nikita Gusev will look to extend his point streak tonight. (Photo by: Michael Dwyer/AP)

What/Who to Watch

  • As is well-known around the league, the Islanders rely on their goaltending and system to win games. This was no different last night, as the Islanders shutout the league’s highest-scoring team. However, the reason why this team may not able to make all that deep of a run in the playoffs is due to their lack of scoring. The Islanders rank 23rd in the NHL in goals per game, and as is mentioned above have even struggled more as of late. If the Devils are able to put a couple passed Griess, that may be enough to steal a victory at home from a team much higher in the standings.
  • An important part of every game is the special teams; however, I wouldn’t expect it to play that much of a factor in this one. The Islanders have a slight upper hand, as they own the 17th ranked power play and the 10th ranked penalty kill. Meanwhile, the Devils – who have largely improved on their penalty kill – rank 19th while only ranking 30th on the power play. 
  • Forward Nikita Gusev enters tonight on a four-game point streak. With two goals and four assists in his last four games, it’ll be interesting to see if the Russian forward can improve his streak against a team that does not give up a lot of scoring. Gusev – who has 24 points on the season – is also closing in on taking the team scoring lead from Kyle Palmieri, which is impressive given Palmieri has played three more games than him.

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

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