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Game 67 Preview: Your New Jersey Devils vs. New York Islanders

New Jersey Devils vs New York Islanders

New Jersey Devils (37-24-5) vs. New York Islanders (28-29-9)

7:00 P.M. E.T.
Radio – 660 AM WFAN

The Devils face off against the Islanders tonight looking to carry the momentum they gained on Tuesday by beating their Hudson River Rivals, and 1st place in the Eastern Conference, New York Rangers. To do so, they must match the intensity they played with on Tuesday, in a game where the Devils forced turnovers, came up with timely scoring (Ilya Kovalchuk, David Clarkson, Ryan Carter, Patrik Elias) and essentially had the Rangers on their heels for most of the game. Newly acquired defensemen Marek Zidlicky had his best game as a Devil on Tuesday, registering a +1 rating and creating numerous chances throughout the game. Ilya Kovalchuk set the tone early, scoring 49 seconds in on Henrik Lundqvist, and the Devils added another three goals in the third period, arguably their best 20 minute period of the season. The result of the Devils winning in 4-1 fashion: fans were able to chant, “Marty’s Better” as the Blueshirts fans quietly exited Prudential Center.

Tonight’s game will be the 2nd out of 3 in this week between the Atlantic Division rivals. On Sunday at Nassau Coliseum, the Devils faced a disappointing 1-0 loss where they could not figure out Isles rookie goalie, Anders Nilsson. Nilsson stopped all 24 shots he was faced with en route to his first career win and shutout. Nilsson will not start again tonight with Evgeni Nabokov getting the nod, but the Islanders come to Prudential Center leading the season series 2-1 against the Devils. The Islanders will be well rested, having not played since beating the Devils on Sunday. It is important that the Devils play a 60 minute game, and stay out of the penalty box, both of  which they were not able to do last Sunday.

The Devils will certainly be looking for revenge against the Islanders after their performance on Sunday. Said captain Zach Parise, “you could have put a peewee goalie in there the first two periods and he probably would have had a shutout too.” While they are still working to bolster their playoff spot and not fall out of the top eight spots, the Islanders currently sit 7 points out of the 8th seed, making every game crucial for them. Regardless, the Devils know and it is fresh in their minds that the Isles will not give them an easy time and that they can not underestimate them. Zach Parise said he expects similar play from the Isles that gave the Devils trouble on Sunday, and that “by no means are (the Islanders) out of it.”

The Islanders will look to match a season high three game winning streak, and get another road victory where they are only  13-15-4 this season. One player who is always a threat on the ice, center John Tavares, hopes to reverse recent trends against the Devils, where he has only 2 goals in 15 games against the Devils. Tavares leads the Isles with 63 points this season. Zach Parise hopes to continue his recent dominance over New York, tallying 16 points in his last nine home games vs the Islanders. Ilya Kovalchuk also has excelled against the Islanders lately, with 21 points in his last 16 match-ups. Ilya Kovalchuk looks to start regaining his scoring touch. Second on the team behind Zach Parise with 26 goals, Kovy finally broke a nine game goal drought against the Rangers.Additionally, the Devils will look forward to the return of left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky, who declared himself “ready to go” after he had missed the last three games with a sprained MCL in his right knee. As expected, Martin Brodeur will be in net for the Devils. Brodeur, who is winless in two starts against the Islanders this season, has done well against the Isles in the past, bringing in a 48-27-2 career record against them. The two teams will match up again on Saturday at Nassau Coliseum.


New Jersey Devils Projected Lineup

Parise – Henrique – Kovalchuk
Sykora – Elias – Zubrus
Ponikarovsky – Josefson – Clarkson
Boulton – Carter – Bernier

Greene – Fayne
Salvador – Larsson
Volchenkov – Zidlicky


Scratches – Janssen, Taormina
New York Islanders Projected Lineup

Moulson – Tavares – Parenteau
Ullstrom – Nielsen – Bailey
Niederreiter – Cizikas- Okposo
Pandolfo – Reasoner – Martin

Harmonic – Streit
MacDonald – Jurcina
Eaton – Staios


Scratches – Grabner, Reese


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