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Game Preview: New Jersey Devils at New York Islanders

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The New Jersey Devils have dropped six-straight decisions dating back to December 29. The New York Islanders are 3-5 since that date. Let’s see how this goes.

New Jersey Devils v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (22-12-8) at the New York Islanders (23-18-4; SBN Blog: Lighthouse Hockey)

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+, MSG+2

Coleman, Hayes out/Noesen, Wood in/Mueller sits: For the first time this season Blake Coleman will sit out a game as a healthy scratch. The 26-year-old has played in all 42 games this season, but was used as an extra forward in Monday’s practice at Barnabas Health Hockey House. He will join Jimmy Hayes, who will remain a scratch for the tenth-straight game on Tuesday night. Mirco Mueller, despite participating in the previous three Devils practices, will sit out a little longer. Mueller fractured his left clavicle 18 seconds in to New Jersey’s 7-5 win in Chicago on November 12.

Islanders Trending Down: The New York Islanders started this season strong and looked to be a threatening offensive powerhouse. Since then, and by then I mean November 30, they have fallen off a proverbial cliff. The Islanders have held their opponents to fewer than three goals just four times since December 1, that’s a span of 21 games. A combination of injuries, lack of depth, and poor defense and goaltending have turned the Islanders from a team who once led the NHL in goals-for per-game to a team who might just not make the playoffs in their superstar captain’s contract season. Which has prompted some rather entertaining Tweets from Lighthouse Hockey’s Dan Saraceni, and others:

All that said, the Islanders also boast some nice, young talent. Center Mathew Barzal is a talented young rookie with a new-age skillset who has flourished in his important role on the team, much like another rookie number 13 who we all know.

Lineups: Cory Schneider will start in net for New Jersey, and the Devils’ lineup will look like this, courtesy of Andrew Gross at the Record.

No word yet on the Islanders lineups for tonight’s game, as they had a game in Montreal last night.

Your Thoughts: Do some different lines and a defense-heavy practice mean the Devils are due for a win? What are your opinions on the Devils’ lineup decisions? Leave your thoughts below.